As a loving pet parent, you want to give your cat or dog the best chance of health and longevity. Regular vet checkups and preventive care are an important part of keeping your pet well, but how often do you need to bring them in? Our Stockton vets discuss how often to bring your pet in for routine checkups.
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
Taking your pet to the vet for a routine exam is like taking them in for a doctor's 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 dog or cat is under a year old, then monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
During your pet's first year of life, they'll 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.
When they are between 6-12 months old, your puppy or kitten should be spayed or neutered in order to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted litters of offspring.
Adult Pets (Up To 7 Years Old)
If you have a healthy, active adult dog or cat between 1 - 7 years old, it's recommended that they have a routine exam annually. These examinations are yearly 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 at about 8 years old, with the exception of giant breeds. Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, usually beginning at around 5 years of age.
Cats are considered to be senior when they are 11 years or older.
Since older pets are more prone to diseases and injuries, 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.
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.