If you’ve never owned a dog before, you might not know how often they need to see the vet. The short answer is that how often you need to go depends on your dog, their breed, and how healthy they are overall. There is a recommended norm for how often you should go through that has to do with vaccinations and well-visits. Continue reading below to learn about the recommended checkups you should do with your dog.
How Often Should My Dog Go To The Vet?
The old adage holds up for many things: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This goes for your home, your car, and your health. But it holds true for your dog’s health too. The best thing you can do to keep your dog healthy is take them to the vet when you’re supposed to. But how often should you take your dog to the vet?
There are different schools of thought on how often you should go, but if you have a puppy, it’s pretty cut and dry. Experts say your puppy should be brought to the vet each month until they reach sixteen weeks old. Once you get into the swing of these monthly visits, you can start taking the advice of your vet. They will have a good idea of if your dog is in good health and if they need to come in more or less often.
The good news is that once your dog reaches sixteen weeks old, you won’t really have to return to the vet until your dog reaches about six months old and is ready to be spayed or neutered.
Types of Vet Visits
Other than having a puppy that needs to come to the vet more often, there are only really three different types of vet visits. These different visits are going to determine how often you have to go see the vet.
These are normal checkups just ensure your dog is in tip-top health. You should be doing wellness exams even if you don’t notice any issues with your dog. These should be done every 6 to 12 months depending on your dog’s health.
During these exams, your vet will check:
- If your dog seems alert
- Your dog’s body weight and build
- If your dog has healthy eyes, nails, and coat
Your vet will likely also check to see if your dog is having any discharge from the eyes, ears, or nose. They will also check your dog’s teeth and their overall appearance. These annual or semi-annual appointments will make sure your dog is in the best health possible and will keep you from any surprises down the road.
Even if you are taking your pet to the vet every twelve months, you might have to stop by for a couple extra visits to keep up with your dog’s vaccinations. Normally, vaccinations are started at around six months of age. They may get additional rounds of vaccinations at ten and sixteen weeks. Beyond that, most vaccinations should be conducted at your dog’s normal checkups.
Normal vaccinations would include canine distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and rabies. You may consider other vaccinations, especially for controlling parasites. Those are not always necessary though.
Other than wellness exams and vaccinations, you will only be bringing your dog in if there is an issue. Most dogs are pretty adventurous and curious, so you might end up with a dog who has been hurt or bit by another animal. You might also have a dog who’s just prone to accidents and may have fallen and hurt themselves. Whatever the case, if your dog has been injured you shouldn’t shy away from the vet.
Remember that your vet is there to help your dog be as healthy as possible. Keep that in mind when you take your dog to the vet. While accidents of course happen, preventing any kind of problem beforehand is a better option than waiting to see what will happen if something goes untreated. Whatever happens, know that your vet is a resource for you to use.