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 Citrus County vets explain...
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 provides your vet with the opportunity to monitor your pet's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and offer recommendations on the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.
Our vets understand that you are concerned about the cost of bringing your dog or cat in for a routine checkup when they seem healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your pet's care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road.
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 conditions benefit from more frequent examinations.
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 towards 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 required vaccines, speak to you about your dog or cat's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing.
If your vet detects any signs of developing health issues they will discuss their findings with you and recommend 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.
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 dog or cat comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior pet, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.
Many veterinarians strive to make preventive care more affordable for their clients by offering Wellness Plans.
At Dunnellon Animal Hospital we offer Wellness Plans for dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes to help make your pet's routine healthcare easier on your wallet. With our Wellness Plans, we bundle all the preventive services your pet needs to stay healthy including routine exams, vaccinations, parasite prevention and more. Then we give you an affordable monthly payment plan to help you save money and manage your budget.
Ask your vet about a Wellness Plan for your cat or dog.
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.