Vet trips can feel like an endless task on the to-do list when you first bring a new dog home. There’s the first trip, then immunizations, and microchipping, spaying or neutering, boosters, and dental checks…
The good news is, once your pampered pooch reaches one year of age, they won’t need to visit the vet as frequently for routine appointments. Always take your dog to the vet if they display behaviors that are out of the ordinary, such as excessive scratching or grooming, breathing difficulties, food and/or water avoidance, or being much snappier than usual, to name but a few. Thankfully, for those terrifying moments, emergency pet insurance by Petcube comes in super handy. At least you won’t need to worry about how you’re going to pay for treatment on top of everything else.
How Often Do Dogs Need Shots?
Dogs should go to the vet between four to ten weeks of age, for initial immunizations. Vets recommend booking this appointment for when your pup is eight to ten weeks old.
The first appointment is longer than usual checkups. Tell the call handler that the appointment is for a health check on a new puppy, so they can allocate you the correct appointment length.
Dogs need booster or “top-up” vaccinations at six months and/or twelve months of age. Your vet will advise on an immunization schedule after that, depending on parasites and bugs in the area, breed, pet lifestyle, and more.
When Should You Spay or Neuter a Dog?
Vets recommend spaying or neutering dogs at six months of age or older, but no later than two years. Dogs recover quicker when spayed at a younger age, but younger isn’t better for all breeds. They mature at different times.
Your vet will tell you the best time to spay or neuter your specific breed or size of dog.
Recommended Dog Vet Visit Schedule
Having a vet visit schedule for your pet ensures they live a happy, healthy, and long life. Your vet will spot symptoms and diagnose medical conditions early on. In turn, this means earlier delivery of treatment(s) and higher treatment success rates.
To be the ultimate pup-parent, this is the schedule you should follow, according to the American Kennel Club:
- 4 to 8 weeks: First puppy check and immunizations – Bordetella*, distemper, and parvovirus.
- 2 to 4 weeks after immunizations: Secondary doses plus adenovirus and parainfluenza, known as DHPP.
- 8 weeks onwards: Microchipping.
- 12 to 16 weeks: Rabies immunization.
- 6 months: Immunization boosters*.
- 6 months to 2 years: Spaying/neutering.
- 12 months: Immunization boosters (DHPP), plus rabies. Repeat every 1 to 3 years, as recommended by your vet.
- Every 6 months: Annual dog check up for senior dogs.
- Every 12 months: Annual dog check up for adult dogs.
This schedule will look different for different dogs. Dogs with medical conditions require more vet appointments than those without. A vet will also need to provide medications more frequently. Clumsy dogs will require more treatment than non-clumsy dogs.
Dogs are just like people: some need healthcare every few days, while others don’t get sick or injured for years at a time.
Annual Dog Check-Up Checklist
During an annual dog check up, a vet will perform a series of tests to rule out common doggy diseases. Your vet may require a stool and urine sample, and they may take blood samples for testing. Visual and physical examinations will also take place.
You and/or your vet should do the following:
- Talk about your pet’s behavior;
- Discuss preventative treatments for worms, ticks, fleas, and other bugs;
- Check your dog’s teeth, which is particularly important in senior dogs;
- Height and weight;
- Check and advise on immunizations;
- Ensure microchip is working;
- Listen to lungs and breathing, plus heart;
- Check eyes and ears;
- Discuss any changes that have come up since your last visit.
It’s important to take your dog to the vet when you notice unusual behaviors or other symptoms, but it’s equally important to stick to a regular dog checkup schedule. This allows for preventative care, which will save you a small fortune on those emergency vet bills in the future!
Regular vet appointments ensure early diagnosis of potential medical concerns – and prompt treatment is the best approach for high success rates.