A huge responsibility of every pet parent is to ensure that our dogs are healthy. Besides regularly monitoring their diet and activity level, we may need to take them to our trusted veterinary doctor from time-to time. But how often should you take your dog to the vet? Although there is no straightforward answer to this question, in this article we will share some information based on different scenarios.
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First year vaccination for puppies
The first time that a dog needs to visit a veterinary clinic is for their ‘core’ vaccinations that begin at the age of six weeks to protect them from distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. Once they are 9-12 weeks old, it’s time for booster for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza and parvovirus. At 12 weeks they are given the rabies vaccine. Besides the ‘core’ vaccines, there is Kennel Cough that falls under the ‘non-core’ category. It is usually mandatory for dogs at kennels or those who start going to doggy day care and boarding facilities.
After the first year a dog needs to visit a vet at least once a year for their annual core and non-core vaccinations based on the country rules and regulations. In the UAE, for example, annual vaccination and renewal of Dubai Municipality tag are a must.
Neutering and spaying
Neutering and spaying are other reasons why dogs need to visit vets. Often pet parents wonder what the right age is to neuter or spay a dog. Here’s what Dr. Jerry Klein, CVO recommends in an article published in American Kennel Club. “Age of six to nine months may be appropriate for neutering or spaying a toy breed puppy or small breed puppy. But a larger or giant breed may need to wait until they are near or over 12-18 months of age.”
Regular health check-up
There are other reasons why dogs need to visit vets ranging from general health check-ups and blood work to more serious health issues. During a general physical examination, a veterinary doctor will check your dog’s weight, ears, eyes, coat, stomach and heart. They might also check your dog’s teeth for tartar build-up, lymph nodes to rule out irregularities as well as how they stand and walk. Sometimes stool tests might be needed as well. More serious health issues might require specific tests. These include but are not limited to blood and urine tests to assess kidney and liver health, thyroid hormone levels and more. Sometimes an injured dog might even have to undergo X-ray and/or an MRI.
Overall, the frequency of vet visits depends on your dog’s health condition and age. Having said that after a certain age, based on your dog’s breed and health condition, at least a couple of vet visits in a year might be required.
Note: This article is meant for information and awareness and should not be considered as medical opinion.