Your dog’s annual veterinary check-up is an important part of your family’s yearly routine. Your four-legged family member needs to see his doctor every year, just like you do. Just as we want what is best for the health of our human family members, we cannot overlook the furry members of our clan. This year, make certain you are keeping all members of your family as healthy as possible by scheduling your dog’s annual exam. There are many reasons why you should take your dog to the vet every year.

Your pet’s overall health matters.

It’s crucial for your pet’s overall health, of course, but it also helps to establish a great relationship between your family and your vet. By maintaining annual exams you are helping your dog to become comfortable in the vet’s office. This can be a necessary step in making your pet feel more comfortable at the vet if there were ever a serious condition that he needed to have treated. Likewise, if you include your children in the visit they too will feel more comfortable if Fido ever were to become ill. Getting to know your vet well is always a good idea.

Our pets, unfortunately, can’t tell us when they are feeling sick. They can’t explain their symptoms or tell you they have a belly ache. By seeing your veterinarian regularly, you are helping to maintain your pet’s good health but also helping to ensure you can detect and even prevent serious health issues later on.

By checking in yearly with your vet, you are simply ensuring that Fido is on the path to a happy, healthy year. Giving your vet a chance to take a really good look at your pet allows you to ensure that his health, diet and fitness stay on the right track for the year to come. You dog will get a once over, and you will get the peace of mind knowing that he’s being taken care of.

It’s easy to take your pet to the vet when you know what to expect.

An annual exam for your dog is a comprehensive check-up on all his important vital signs and overall health statistics. Typically, your vet will do a basic exam of your pet’s teeth, mouth, eyes and ears checking for any discharge, discoloration or swelling. They will look for any signs of infection or discomfort your pet may be experiencing. They will also look over your dog’s skin and coat, as well as feel for any abnormalities in structure (lumps, bumps, rashes and abrasions). This will help them to detect any potential illness or allergies. During this time, they may also listen to your pet’s heart, take their pulse, and take their temperature (This happens rectally and although it may be embarrassing for your pooch, he is not being hurt by this process.).

Your annual exam is also a good time for you to ask any questions you may have about your dog. You may want to ask about any irritating or mischievous behaviors you’ve been experiencing, changes in diet you’ve noticed, or anything pressing that has been happening with your pet. Consider talking to your vet about your dog’s barking or chewing habits, training issues, or digestive changes.

Your vet will likely ask you about your dog’s food and water consumption and what their exercise level at home is like. Expect your doctor to input this information into the computer system to keep your pet’s medical record complete and up to date.

You may opt for additional screenings too. Your vet can perform:

  • routine blood work
  • conduct fecal or urinary exams
  • update your pet on any vaccinations
  • check for fleas and ticks
  • examine your pet’s coat
  • discuss any other medical concerns

Being proactive saves you time at the groomer/boarder.

It is important to be proactive with the health of your pet. By scheduling your annual exam you are ensuring that your pet has the best chance to have a healthy, disease-free year. Additionally, if you intend to take your dog to doggie day care, or happen to need to board him overnight, these facilities typically require up to date health records before accepting a pet into their establishment. In this way, they can ensure that all the pets on the property are properly vaccinated in order to maintain the health of all their guests. At the very least, they will require proof of vaccinations which can be achieved in your yearly visit to the vet. Most boarding facilities require your pet to have received a current rabies vaccine and often will require or suggest a current DHLPP/DAPP and Bordetella vaccine as well.

Occasionally, a groomer will also require proof of good health before taking on a client. If you have a dog whose fur will need to be regularly groomed or a pet who likes to roll in the mud and will be taking him in for regular baths and trims, then seeing your vet regularly can help to avoid any hold-ups in getting your next appointment with the groomer too.

When should we see the vet more regularly?

If you notice any extreme changes in your dog’s behavior or eating habits please make an appointment to see your vet. Otherwise, it truly depends on the age and size of your dog.

Puppies, for instance, require regular vaccines and they are growing so fast that you will need to see your vet quite often during the first year of a dog’s life. Just like is necessary with your human babies, your canine baby needs to see his doctor regularly. The recommendation is usually every 3-4 weeks until they hit 16 weeks old.

Then, as your dog ages through its “teenage” years his vet visits will be less frequent. Yearly exams are often all that is necessary during this stage.

Aging dogs will need more attention to their conditions and often require more care. Sometimes vets will suggest a bi-annual exam for dogs greater than 7 years old.

If your dog is a larger breed, they are often more active and are at risk for joint conditions and physical injuries. Larger breeds tend to “age” more rapidly than smaller dogs and might need more regular check-ups.

If you have any questions about keeping your best friend’s tail wagging this year please feel free to contact us to ask, or to schedule your appointment.