Why Should I Bring my Dog to the Vet if Nothing Seems Wrong?
The goal of preventative care is to maintain your dog's health and to provide them with the care they need. Preventative care begins with routine prevention exams, scheduled either once or twice per year depending on your dog's unique needs.
These routine exams are physical checkups for your pet.
By bringing your dog in to see their vet, even when they appear to be perfectly healthy, you are giving them the opportunity to check in on and monitor your dog's health over time and diagnose and treat medical issues early and at their most treatable. It allows them to provide preventative care like parasite treatments and vaccinations in order to keep your dog feeling their best and avoid needing the emergency vet hospital for a bigger issue.
Identifying health issues such as ear infections, gastrointestinal parasites or cancer before their obvious symptoms appear means that treatment can begin when it is most effective.
How Often Does my Dog Need to See the Vet for Preventive Care?
Our veterinarians advise dog owners to bring their dogs in for yearly routine wellness exams. However, the frequency you should bring your canine companion to see their vet will vary based on your dog's age, medical history and more.
Puppies can be vulnerable to health conditions which adult dogs can resist with ease. This is true for senior or geriatric dogs as well. Your should bring your very young or old dog in for a checkup much more frequently than you would an adult. For puppies under a year old, every month, and for senior dogs, twice a year.
What Happen in a Routine Wellness Exam?
Your vet should walk through their medical history and inquire about any specific concerns you might have with their health.
In some cases, they will have already asked you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order to conduct a fecal exam to examine it for signs of common intestinal parasites which may be otherwise difficult to detect.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your dog which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your dog's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Inspecting the dog's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Looking at your dog's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your dog's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Checking your dog's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Examining the condition of your dog's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Examining your dog's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Feeling along your dog's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
Each of these tests are intended to detect signs of health issues your dog may be experiencing.
What About Vaccinating my Dog?
Vaccinations are designed to protect your dog against contagious, common and possibly even life-threatening diseases. The vaccines are recommended for your dog will be based on where you live and what your pet's lifestyle.
There are core vaccines which we recommend for all dogs and there are "lifestyle vaccines" which are recommended for dogs who are often in contact with other animals.
Your adult dog will require booster shots regularly in order to maintain their protection against diseases. In most instances, boosters are given to your dogs annually wellness exam. Your vets should let you know when you dog's booster shots are due.
Does my Dog Need Parasite Prevention?
Mosquitos and ticks carry dangerous parasites which can invade your dog's body and cause fatal conditions. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from dogs to their owners!
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Is Preventative Care Expensive?
When compared to the cost of treating an advanced form of a condition, disease or disorder, routine preventative healthcare for your dog will save you money.
Preventative veterinary care will also ensure that your dog experiences a minimum amount of pain or discomfort from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected in your dog, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
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.