You love your pet and want to give them their very best chance at a long and happy life, that's why regular veterinary checkups and preventive care are important. But exactly how often should you take your dog or cat to the vet? Our Pico Rivera vets explain below.
Veterinary Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your pet to stay healthier longer.
Taking your dog or cat to the vet on a regular basis allows your vet to monitor your pet's overall health, look for early signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and recommend the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.
Our veterinarians understand that you are concerned about the cost of bringing your dog or cat in for a routine checkup when they appear healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your pet's care could save you money in the long run.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Taking your pet to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your furry friend in for a physical. As with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends upon your pet's lifestyle, overall health, and age.
Annual wellness exams are typically recommended for healthy adult dogs, but puppies and kittens, senior pets, and animals with underlying health issues benefit from more frequent exams.
Puppies & Kittens Up to 12 Months Old
If your pet is less than a year old then monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
During your puppy or kitten's first year, they are going to need several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases. Recommended vaccines for puppies include distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. Kittens should receive their FVRCP vaccine which helps to protect your feline friend against 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
These vaccines will be given to your young friend over the course of about 16 weeks and will go a long way toward keeping your puppy or kitten healthy.
The exact timing of your pet's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your furry friend's overall health.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your puppy or kitten spayed or neutered in order to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted litters.
Adult Pets Up To 7 Years of Age
If you have a healthy, active adult dog or cat between 1 - 7 years old, yearly routine exams are recommended. These examinations are annual physical checkups that are done while your pet seems completely healthy.
During your adult pet's routine exam, your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination of your pet to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.
Your veterinarian will also administer any necessary vaccines, discuss your dog's or cat's diet and nutritional needs, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be experiencing.
If your veterinarian notices any signs of impending health problems, he or she will discuss their findings with you and make recommendations for next steps.
Senior Dogs & Cats
Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are about 8 years old, except in the case of giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically starting around 5 years of age.
Cats are considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age.
Since many animal diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older pets we recommend taking your senior dog or cat to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior pet will include all of the checks and advice mentioned above, but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide extra insight into your pet's overall health.
We advise blood tests and urinalysis for our senior patients to look for early indicators of conditions like kidney disease or diabetes.
As age-related conditions like joint pain become more prevalent, geriatric care for pets also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your dog or cat comfortable. Ask your veterinarian how frequently you should bring your senior pet in for checkups if you have one.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.