Your annual physical exam at the doctor’s office is a key part of maintaining your overall health. Dogs have the same health requirements, and as a dog owner, it is your responsibility to maintain a schedule of regular visits to the vet to keep your dog happy and healthy.
For most dogs, the recommended visit schedule is an annual checkup. Dogs that have existing health issues, are still in puppyhood, or are older may need more frequent visits to keep on top of their health needs. Your veterinarian can discuss recommendations specific for your pet.
How Annual Vet Checkups Help Keep Your Pup Healthy
At your yearly physical, your doctor will examine you and catch up on any health concerns you have been having. Your dog’s vet visit provides the same chance for the dog to stay current on his health needs and gives an opportunity to:
- Keep Vaccinations Up to Date - Vaccinations can protect your four legged friend from a number of illnesses, but they often wear off after a year. A regular visit makes sure your dog has full protection. For dogs that regularly visit daycare, board, or play at the dog park, these vaccinations are a necessity to avoid spreading contagious diseases.
- Dental Health and Cleaning - Dental problems can lead to larger health problems for people and dogs alike, and many health problems first show up in the teeth and gums. At an annual visit, your vet can inspect your dog’s teeth and clean them to help promote overall well being.
- Early Intervention on any Illnesses - Many illnesses develop slowly, and you may not notice the changes since you see your dog everyday. But your veterinarian knows what to look for and can spot the signs of an illness and begin treatment. Regular visits means your dog never goes long before getting treatment.
- Stay Familiar with Your Vet - Regular visits are helpful to keep both you and your dog familiar with the vet, as well as your vet up to date on your dog. This can reduce your dog’s anxiety around vet visits. It also makes it easier to detect and manage any problems your dog may develop.
Regular vet visits should happen in addition to any unplanned visits, such as an emergency visit if your dog eats something he shouldn’t or a visit to get treatment for an illness like kennel cough. If you have noticed any behavioral changes or suspect your dog is not feeling well, you also should not wait until your annual visit but make an appointment as soon as possible.