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Dog Checkups

When should I take my dog to the vet? What do routine examinations involve? Why should I take my dog to the vet if they appear healthy? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more.

Why should I take my dog to the vet if they appear healthy?

Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your animal companion to stay healthier longer.

Taking your dog to the vet on a regular basis provides your vet with the opportunity to monitor your dog's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and provide preventive care such as vaccines and parasite prevention medications.

At Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group–OC (VMSG-OC), our vets understand that you are concerned about the cost of veterinary visits when your pet is healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's health care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road.

What do routine examinations involve?

Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your pup in for a physical checkup. As with people, how often your pet should have a checkup depends upon your dog's lifestyle, overall health, and age. Read on to learn more specific details about routine exams for dogs of different ages.

When should I take my dog to the vet?

Yearly routine exams are typically recommended for healthy adult dogs, but puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with underlying health conditions benefit from more frequent examinations. 

Puppies Under 12 Months Old

If your four-legged friend is less than a year old then monthly visits to your vet are recommended. 

During your pup's first year, they are going to need several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. These vaccines will be given to your puppy over the course of 16 weeks and will go a long way toward keeping your fur baby healthy.

The exact timing of your young dog's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and their overall health.

During your puppy's routine exam, be sure to speak to your veterinarian about the best time to have your pet spayed or neutered. There are a number of factors that can influence optimal timing for these surgeries and your vet will be able to provide you with advice specific to your dog's breed and lifestyle.

Adult Dogs Between 1 - 7 Years of Age

If you have a healthy, active adult dog between the ages of 1 - 7 years, yearly vet checkups are recommended.

During your adult dog's checkup, your veterinarian 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 vet will also administer any required vaccine booster shots, speak to you about your dog'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 Over 7 Years of Age (Or Large Breeds Over 5)

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.

Since many diseases and injuries seen in dogs tend to be more common in older pets, we recommend taking your senior dog to the vet for a checkup every 6 months. Twice-yearly examinations for your senior dog will include all of the checks and advice mentioned above, but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide additional insight into your pet's overall health. 

Some diagnostic tests we recommend for 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 pet comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior dog, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for an examination.

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.

At Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group–OC (VMSG-OC) we provide specialist and emergency care to pets in Orange County and beyond. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group–OC (VMSG-OC) accepts new clients to our specialty services and 24/7 emergency services.

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