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How often should I take my dog to the vet?

You adore your canine companion and want to give them the best chance to live a long, happy life. That's where regular preventive veterinary care comes in. But exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our vets in Gaithersburg answer this common question.

Preventive Care & Early Detection 

Preventing serious health conditions or detecting them in their earliest stages can help your dog remain healthier and longer.

Taking your four-legged friend to the vet regularly offers your vet the chance to monitor your dog's general health, check for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions can most easily be treated), and offer recommendations about parasite prevention products for your canine or feline companion. 

Our vets understand that you may be concerned about the cost of bringing your dog in for a checkup when they seem healthy. However, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's care may save you from spending significant sums of money on veterinary care in the future. 

Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets 

Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your pup in for a physical. Similar to people, how often your pet should have a physical will be determined by your dog's general health status, age, and lifestyle. 

Healthy adult dogs should typically have a wellness examination once per year. Puppies, dogs with underlying health conditions, and senior dogs benefit from more frequent examinations. 

Puppies Up to 12 Months Old

Is your pup less than a year old? If so, monthly visits to your vet are recommended. 

Your puppy will need several rounds of vaccinations throughout their first year to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases, such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, leptospirosis, rabies, and corona. the vaccines will be administered to your puppy over 16 weeks and will play a vital role in keeping your puppy healthy. 

Your location and your pup's overall health will determine the precise timing of your dog's vaccinations.

We recommend having your puppy spayed or neutered when they are between 6 and 12 months old. This procedure can prevent several diseases and undesirable behaviors, in addition to unwanted puppies. 

Adult Dogs Up to 7 Years Old

We recommend yearly wellness exams if your healthy, active adult dog is between one and seven years old.

During your adult dog's exam, your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.

Your vet will also administer any required vaccines, speak to you about your dog's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing.

If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues, they will discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.

Senior Dogs

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 Bernard's age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically around 5 years of age.

Since many canine diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older dogs, we recommend taking them to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior dog 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. 

Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.

Geriatric care for pets also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your pet comfortable as age-related issues, such as joint pain, become more common. If you have a senior dog, ask your vet how often you should bring them in for an examination.

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.

Has your dog been diagnosed with a health condition diagnosed by your primary vet? Contact our Gaithersburg vets to book an examination. We also gladly accept referrals from veterinarians.

New Patients Welcome

Veterinary Referral Associates is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gaithersburg companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (301) 926-3300