For your beloved dog’s wellness, it is very important to get him checked over by your vet at least once a year. And routine check-ups also help to keep him up to date with his booster injections and general healthcare. We all become worried when our beloved dog shows signs of distress, sick or injured, etc. For your furry friend’s wellness, you need to keep a close eye on it.
So it’s very essential for you to book an annual appointment with your vet for a thorough check-up for your dog. This will give your vet the chance to identify any potential dog health problems and, give better solutions for their health issues before they become serious. Preventive treatments are as significant for dogs as it is for us humans.
How Often Should Your Pet See a Veterinarian?
Regular health check-ups for your dog will also provide an opportunity for you to accurately weigh your dog, help you keep its vaccinations up-to-date, basic vaccine schedule, and help put your mind at ease about any health issues.
But how often you take your dog to the vet depends on your dog’s age and general health. Always remember one thing that regular health check-ups or preventative health care can keep your pet healthier longer, and may even save you money in the long term.
You need to go for routine checkups right from the beginning. Since a puppy’s immune system would not be fully developed, you might need to take them for checkups and vaccinations every 3-4 weeks till they turn 16 weeks old. At an early stage, your pet will also start flea and heartworm, and tick prevention medications. Taking your dog to an early life stage, detection and treatment also help them to create a positive association with the vet.
During this stage, vets recommend yearly checkups for dogs. To check for heartworms, they may also take a blood sample and stool sample from your dog. To prevent sickness like kennel cough, your middle-aged dog may get other vaccines and outdoor dogs should get feline leukemia vaccines. At this stage, vets usually suggest annual check-up. Vaccines will be given to your dog during these visits.
Veterinarians recommend twice-yearly checkups for older dogs. Your dog will get vaccinations when needed and will get a thorough wellness screening test, along with tests to follow up on any problems. By doing urine and blood tests, your vet can detect your pet’s liver and kidney health condition, thyroid hormone levels, and many more issues. It is recommended checkups should be done twice a year but frequent visits vary depending on each dog and their signs of illness. Based on your dog’s health, your vet will suggest the exact number of visits.
What Does An Annual Checkup For Dogs Include?
Here you can find a list of specific things the vet might check for during an annual dog visit:
- Vaccinations and current status of each
- Blood tests (particularly for senior dogs who suffer more health issues)
- Urine tests and any discharge, discoloration, etc. (You can also do a home urine test)
- Fecal tests (typically for puppies)
- Any concerns about digestion, gas, burping, or abnormal stools
- Coughing, wheezing, sneezing, throat or nose discharge
- For lumps, hair loss, discoloration, unusual spots, and skin infections in dogs, the vet check the coat and skin of the dog
- Limbs, walking, standing, and toenails
- Ears and eyes for swelling or pain, redness, discharge, and itching
- Examination for intestinal parasites, like other worms and heartworms
- Fleas, ticks, mites
- Dental health, including teeth and breath smell (often a sign of gum diseases)
- Body parts or internal organs to make sure they are not an unusual size
The Importance Of a Yearly Dog Checkup
If you keep dogs, you may treat them as your children: you spoil them rotten and care for them deeply. Since pets are that significant to you, then their health should be just as important too.
Just feeding them a balanced diet, taking them out on walks, and pampering good dogs with toys and treats (these are also very important activities) are not enough for their wellbeing. We need to take care of many other things for them and for their routine maintenance.
So do remember to mention many important health issues about your dog when you book the appointment. And your vet will give your dog his annual injections and basic vaccination at the check-up, Finally, your dog’s annual check-up is your opportunity to ask your vet any burning questions about your dog’s behavior, diet, toilet training, and general health.
Different types of tests for dogs
Your vet might recommend some lab tests for a better diagnosis, depending on the preliminary assessment. Here you can get an idea about some of those common diagnostic tests.
- Fecal examination: For the presence of parasite eggs, your dog’s feces will be checked. This examination will be done every month as puppies normally have many intestinal parasites. Ask your vet whether you need to carry urine or a sample of their feces and/ before the checkup.
- Urinalysis: If your dog drinks excessive water or urinates frequently, a urine test might be done to check for a urinary tract infection, diabetes, kidney disease, and bladder stones.
- Thyroid testing: If your dog is senior and shows any symptoms of thyroid abnormalities, your vet will recommend this test as hypothyroidism is harmful to their eyes, kidneys, and heart, and may also increase their blood pressure.
- Blood test: Red blood cells count will determine their oxygen-carrying capacity and white blood cells count will determine their immunity and any disorders. Blood tests also help to detect disorders in other organs. The first blood tests are done during their first vet visit.
- Parasite check: For dogs older than 6 months, heartworm antigen tests and other tests to detect tick-borne diseases might be conducted.
- Abdominal ultrasound: This test will be performed to check ailments related to the spleen, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, liver damage, kidneys, etc.
- Allergy testing: If you’ve noticed your dog constantly itching, licking, or having skin infections, your vet might take a test to check for allergies.
- Abdominal radiographs: for senior dogs, this test is generally recommended so that the vet can view the shape of your dog’s heart, lungs, liver, and kidney.
- Skeletal radiographs: This test is performed to check your dog’s joints and bone-related issues.
- Chest X-rays: To check your dog’s airways, lungs, and cardiac vessel size, etc.
The vet will ask you a few questions about your dog’s overall eating (food and water consumption) and lifestyle habits (exercise levels and how often), like a human physical exam. They can also take a few measurements, including checking their pulse and weight.
An annual examination is a chance to express any concerns, examine your pup and bring up any questions you have about your dog. Generally, yearly and half-yearly visits and complete physical checks will benefit their health and bring veterinary care and attention to your dog requirements. For an emergency visit, knowing the symptoms can help you make a quick decision during those crucial first moments.
The Bottom Line
Your dog’s health conditions can affect your overall well-being which in turn can have a positive impact on you and your family. So take care of your dog properly and take preventive treatments to keep them safe and protected. Here, you can get everything that you want to gain knowledge about annual checkups for dogs and how the yearly physical exams can help you to keep your beloved dog safe and happy.
- Rodney Habib, The Forever Dog: The New York Times and Sunday Times Bestselling Dog Care Guide Paperback – 5 November 2021
- Dr. Juliet Decaestecker Healthy Dog, Happy You: Secrets to a Thriving Life with Your Best Companion Paperback – 1 January 2019