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When Should I Take my Dog to the Vet - The Ultimate Guide 2022

How often should i take my dog to the vet

As parents to our pets it is our duty to take care of these furry little guys including things they might not enjoy, like vet visits. Your veterinarian is there to help you keep your pet healthy and happy. They do this because they care about animals and want to see them thrive. Many pet parents often wonder how often should I take my dog to the vet? Well the answer is not black and white so keep reading and we will cover everything you need to know about vet visits.

It is important to establish a good relationship with a veterinarian from the beginning to be sure that you are covering all the dog’s basic veterinary needs. This includes but is not limited to, vaccinations, deworming, flea control, heartworm testing and more. The stage of your dog’s life will likely dictate how often you need to see your veterinarian and we will go through that below. The important thing to remember is that your veterinarian is there to assist you in the health of your pet. They are trained to see things and ask questions that may lead to a better quality of life for your best furry friend. So, it is important to find a veterinarian you trust and respect.


How often should i take my dog to the vet

Every puppy is different, and it is an important time to establish a good relationship with your vet. The first visit will allow your vet to do an overall check up and make sure there are no congenital issues or other medical problems. Screening for heart murmurs, proper dentition for age, parasite and flea control will be part of the first examination. Starting the appropriate vaccine protocol based on the puppies age is crucial. Proper deworming will keep your puppy healthy and happy. Most puppies have worms, so deworming is an important part of their early health care. Your vet is also a valuable asset when discussing other important puppyhood items, such as potty training, nipping and crate training.

This first year of life can be overwhelming for many people with a puppy. There are a lot of expenses that arise, and it is something that every puppy owner should be prepared for. Skipping these puppy visits can lead to much greater illness and higher vet bills.

beige and white dog sitting on a fuzzy gray rug

The puppy year is an important time to follow your vets suggestions as these are some of the times when a dog is most reliant on its owners help. It will also let your vet get a feel for your dogs mannerisms and health in order to properly diagnose problems in the future as they move on to the adult stage. Important topics such as when to spay/neuter the dog, what to feed and any developmental issues can be discussed.

It may be valuable to introduce supplements such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Oil/Salmon Oil to your puppy's diet while they are still young. This will help them grow and develop stronger health as they go through life, improving their immune system, skin and coat, nervous system, and much more. Starting while they are young ensures that they will have the best health possible as they move into the adult stage of their life.

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Adults (ages 1-7)

How often should i take my dog to the vet

Once a dog reaches their adulthood you're probably once again asking how often should I take my dog to the vet, well it is far less critical now to have more than one visit to your veterinarian per year. This is due to the fact that they should behealthyenough to not need to, this may not be true for all dogs however and if you believe your dog needs to visit the vet for any reason don't hesitate. The breed of your dog can greatly affect the amount of time you should expect to be at the vet. For example, Bull Dogs or any other Brachycephalic (short nosed) type dogs, have an increased risk for certain conditions. Skin, ears, respiratory conditions, etc. are all potential concerns that you should be on the lookout for and may necessitate a visit to the vet. When researching dog breeds it is important to take these things in to account.

Your dog is considered an adult from age 1-7. Vaccinations are given 1 year from the completion of the puppy series, so you should be sure to visit the vet in that timeframe. Then plan to visit yearly to be sure your dog is monitored for any developing concerns.When at these checkups your vet will let you know anything you may need to ensure your dog stays tip top throughout their adult life.

It will also give you an outlet to learn more on what your dog might need in theirdiet, exercise, or vitamins throughout life.

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Seniors (8+)

How often should i take my dog to the vet

Senior dogs are considered 8 years of age and older. This time in a dog’s life is when having a good relationship with your veterinarian will really pay off. Your vet can help you navigate new challenges that arise with age. Senior dogs should have blood work done more frequently to be sure that their baseline values are documented. Symptoms of joint disease, heart disease and metabolic conditions often arise later in life and your vet is trained to pick up on these changes and many more.

These can be hard times for any pet owner as medical expenses as well as worry for your furry friend can all come together to form a stress storm full of emotions. There are some preventative measures you can take to ensure the best for your elderly puppy.

Depending on your dog’s breed and condition, it may be a good idea to see your vet every 6 months. As dogs get older healthproblems become more frequent making a good idea to let your vet have a good understanding of your dog by going multiple times a year.

How often should i take my dog to the vet

This stage of your dogs life may also require you to provide different things for him.Anice orthopedic dog bed like theBuddyRest Romeo Orthopedic dog bed can really help his aging joints. Orthopedic beds are great for any dog as they help joint health and provide proper support for good rest, making them extremely good for older dogs with joint problems.

Another great way to help a senior dog is their diet, make sure to ask your veterinarian about recommendations and if they should be adding supplements. Weight related problems are easily preventable and many owners don't take the time to properlyexerciseand feed their dogs, this may because they don't know how. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian before changing any dogs diet as they will give you great insight into what your dog may need.

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Vet Visits

Now you've learned how often and when to visit the vet for regular check ups. Regular check ups usually consist of a physical where your vet will monitor the breathing, heart rate, and other attributes that go into a dogs well being. Along with this they will often check if your dog is up to date on their boosters.

Sometimes getting to the vet can be troublesome for either you or your dog, check with your veterinarian to see if they do home visits. Some will and others may consider it if there is a need. These may cost more but if you are unable to get to the vet they may be worth it. And if you need this service but your vet won't accommodate try reaching out to another veterinarian office to see if they will.

How often should i take my dog to the vet

Inserious conditions you should go directly to the Vet's Emergency Room.

These symptoms could include:

  • Open wounds
  • Broken bones
  • Unconsciousness, lethargy or collapse
  • Difficulty breathing (noisy breathing, increased respiratory rate)
  • Constant coughing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea for 24+ hours
  • Bloody vomit or stool
  • Coughing up pink, frothy, foamy liquid (or blood)
  • If they've eaten something toxic (house cleaner, rate poison, etc.)
  • If they are showing signs of extreme pain
  • Swollen hard abdomen
  • Jaundiced (yellow gums)
  • Not being able to walk, loss of function of limbs

You know your dog better than anyone and if you are concerned, you should always seek medical attention for your dog. Veterinarians are in the business of helping animals and they are always there to support you and your pet. We hope this article gave you some insight into the question of “How often should I take my dog to the Vet.” Please feel free to leave a comment below and share with fellow dog lovers.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Shana Schank DVM


Shana is a veterinarian, writer and mother of 3. She graduated from Iowa State University, School of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. Dr. Schank has a diverse background including Equine Medicine, Shelter Medicine, and Private Small Animal Practice. Dr. Schank prides herself on being adaptable and able to jump into any situation and work with anyone.

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