Updated by Sheryl on Nov 4, 2021
Raising a pet is a matter of great responsibility. So, taking care of a pet's physical and mental health will always be a top priority of every pet owner. That's why dog parents' primary concern is about how often to take the dog to the vet. Mainly, it depends on your pup's age, overall health condition and, specific medical emergencies. For example, puppies and senior dogs need to visit a vet more often due to vaccinations or age-related health problems. But only an annual check-up is enough for healthy adult dogs.
However, taking preventive health measures can keep your dog healthy and save the cost of a vet visit.
Generally, you should take your dog to the vet once a year for a thorough physical exam. It will give you a clue about your pet's growth and development. In addition, it allows you to talk about your concerns to the vet. After an overall checkup, your vet will update you about any illnesses or issues early, the key to preventative care. Finally, he will recommend medication and activities based on the health status of your pup.
However, the once-a-year medical checkup rule only applies to healthy adult dogs. Based on the age and different life stages, you might need to follow a different vet visit schedule.
If the new puppies are breathing, moving, and feeding after birth, it means they are fine and don't need a vet visit. However, if they have mentioned problems, take them to the vet immediately.
From birth to one year old is puppyhood. You should take the pup to the vet once every 3 to 4 weeks after birth until 16 months old. These visits mainly cover vaccinations and general checkups.
At 8 weeks, pups get a combined first shot for distemper, corona, hepatitis, parvo and, parainfluenza. Then, at 10 to 12 weeks, they get the second dose of DA2PP and Leptospirosis. Afterward, the third dose of DA2PP, Lepto, and Rabies is given at 14 to 16 months. The dogs who visit pet gatherings might also need a Kennel cough shot. And most puppies are spayed or neutered at 6 to 9 months of age.
However, the vaccination schedule may differ depending on your location and your pup's health status. You might be worried about the vet cost, but these shots and visits will prove to be lifesavers for your pet. Not only this, your pup will get used to the vet at an early age that might reduce its vet visit-related fear.
One to eight years old dog is considered as an adult dog. Adult dogs need an annual check-up to determine their overall health status. A complete physical exam once a year is enough for healthy dogs. However, it is crucial to take them to the animal hospital right away if they show symptoms of illness.
This annual check-up will cover vaccinations, especially booster shots, physical and dental exams, infection, fleas, and worms. In addition, your dog will get its distemper-parvo and rabies booster shots every three years. The blood samples will identify heartworms, while stool samples will show signs of hidden intestinal parasites. Furthermore, you can seek the vet's advice regarding the behavior and training issues of your dog.
As your dog ages, its diet, activity levels, sleeping, and awakening schedules also change. For example, some breeds are vulnerable to illnesses more often than others. They might also need a diet change or medications. Your vet will let you know if anything is wrong with your pet and how to avoid these.
Eight years and above age dogs are senior dogs. Older dogs should visit the animal hospital for a head-to-tail check-up twice a year. During this visit, your vet will recommend blood tests and compare them with the previous tests to determine if something is wrong.
Your aged furry friend might fall ill more often due to a decreased immunity. The most common age-related health issues your pet might experience are osteoporosis, reduced vision, joint pain, insomnia. Moreover, the lack of mobility can cause weight gain and serious conditions like diabetes and thyroid. Behavior changes are common in senior dogs. In addition, most of them may get liver and kidney disease, cancer, and seizures as they age.
Therefore, frequent vet visits will identify the early symptoms of the disease. This way, you can do your best to ensure a healthy life by providing the proper treatment options to your pet before it's too late.
Some situations are medical emergencies, and you need to take your pet to the vet right away. Here are the symptoms that you should address immediately.
You know your pet better than anyone else. So, if you sense something alarming, don't hesitate to visit a vet. Plus, don't forget to share all of your concerns with the doctor since he is the person who will advise you better than others.
On average, taking a dog to the vet will cost from 50$ to 300$, depending on the type of illness. A routine vet check-up may cost between 50 to 100$. The average first-year vet cost for a small dog is nearly 1500$, for the medium dog is 2000$, and for larger breeds is 2000$-2500$—however, the complex and emergency care costs between 1000$ to 4000$. Therefore, the average estimated lifetime vet cost of your dog can range between 7000$ to 20,000$.
If you can't afford the vet costs, consider these options.
Most importantly, of course, take good care of your pet, which is a way to reduce veterinarian visits in the first place.
Dogs usually fear the vet because they don't like to be handled by strangers. In addition, most furry pets have a bad vaccination experience. If your dog hates a vet visit, follow these steps.
How often to take your dog to the vet depends on your dog's breed and overall health condition. Healthy dogs need one check-up once a year, while puppies and seniors may require frequent visits to the animal hospital. However, in case of emergencies, you should take your pet to the vet right away. In addition, proper preventive measures can save your furry friend from diseases and also you from costly vet bills.