Depending on who you ask, the ‘how often should I take my dog to the vet?’ question could get different answers. However, the frequency of your dog’s visit to the vet should actually change with time. Here is what we mean.
How Often Should You Take A Babe/Toddler (New-born To 1 Year Old) To The Vet?
Generally, new pups should be visiting their vet as often as 4 weeks till they are about 4 months old.
If your pups were birthed at home, you want to take them (together with their mother) to the hospital within 48 hours. The vet should check their vital stats and generally declare them OK.
However, your vet will definitely tell you how often you should bring your new born in if there is anything more specific.
This is the period when your dog will get their first immunization shots. They’ll be immunized for everything from rabies and distemper to Lyme disease and influenza.
Furthermore, if there are laws in your area concerning flea and tick and heartworm prevention, this is the period when your pup will be getting those treatments.
After the 4-month mark, your vet will probably request that you bring in your dog when they are about 6 months.
At this point, they’ll check to be sure that your pup is growing normally and there are no deformities or illnesses.
In addition to that, it is recommended that you neuter and spay your dogs at about 6 months because at this point most females have not yet gone into heat.
It makes better sense to do this before the female goes into heat so that the situation is easier to manage.
How Often Should You Take An Adolescent/Adult (1 Year To 7 Years (And Sometimes 10 Years)) To The Vet?
Visits to the vet can be reduced to once a year at this point. This is because from the age of 1, your dog has already begun to enter into adulthood.
This one time, your vet will carry out a comprehensive check on your dog. They want to make sure that your dog has not developed any complications so far.
They’ll also make sure that the immunizations are doing what they need to.
For the first year, your dog will be getting immunization boosters for rabies and distemper.
After that, the boosters could be taken every 3 years or so. However, how frequently your dog will need boosters for rabies will depend on the law provisions in your state.
As for other issues like Lyme disease, influenza and kennel cough, those could be taken during every yearly check-up.
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How Often Should You Take A Senior Dog (7 Years (And Sometimes 10 Years) And Older) To The Vet?
As your dog begins to enter old age, you’ll need to bring them in more frequently; however, not as frequently as you would a puppy. Bringing in a senior dog twice a year should be good enough.
The reason a senior dog needs more frequent check-ups is because while development is incremental, it gets retrogressive. This is when one can begin to see a reduction in certain organ functions the older a body gets.
So, your dog will definitely need to be checked more often to be sure that no complications have developed. During the check-up would be a good time for you to inform your vet if there have been any changes with your dog.
Vaccinations will continue as is and more tests might be added the older your dog gets.
Finally, to make the vet visits faster and easier for everyone involved, you could always carry a sample of your dog’s poop with you so that your vet can check for intestinal parasites (source).
Of course, all these go without saying that you need to report any abnormalities with your dog to your vet immediately, regardless of whether or not they have gone for their yearly check-up.
How Often Should I Take My Dog To The Vet? — FAQs
Do I Really Need To Take My Dog To The Vet?
You really really need to take your dog to the vet at least once a year. It is important for your dog to get a full examination at least once a year.
We as humans need a full examination at least once a year because a lot of things happen in our bodies that we do not know about or can’t see. Now, thinking about a dog that can’t even tell you something is wrong if they happen to know, taking your dog to the vet becomes doubly important.
Can You Take An Unregistered Dog To The Vet?
Certainly, you can take an unregistered dog to the vet. Vets are usually more concerned about treating the dog than about whether or not the dog is registered.
That said, it is usually cheaper to treat a registered dog. So, bear that in mind.
Can Someone Else Take My Dog To The Vet?
You can ask someone elese to take your dog to the vet. However, to avoid any confusion, inform your vet before hand that someone else will be bringing in your dog on your behalf.
Your vet should know that the person you’re sending has been approved by you to make payments and medical decisions.
Is It Illegal To Not Take Your Dog To The Vet?
In many cases, it could be illegal to not take your dog to the vet. This is because it is your legal obligation to make sure that your pet gets adequate care and is protected them from injury and pain.
This means that not taking your dog to the vet or seeking some sort of medical advise when your dog is in pain, injured or sick is illegal. However, if your dog seems healthy, not taking them to the vet won’t be considered illegal.
What If I Can’t Afford To Take My Dog To The Vet?
Here are a number of things you can do if you can’t afford to take your dog to the vet:
- Carry out a small research on vets and/or animal hospitals that offer some sort of payment plan that you can afford. You could ask other dog parents around you for helping finding these vets and/or animal hospitals.
- You could also check out colleges that offer veterinary medicine as a course. The department might be offering some low-budget veterinary services.
- Additionally, you could scope out any animal advocacy group in your area. They should know where you can get budget friendly veterinary services.
Can A Vet Say No To Euthanasia?
Most vets will actually say no to euthanasia, depending on the circumstance. If a dog parent is trying to get rid of their dog because taking care of the dog has become ‘burdensome’ and euthanizing them is the more convenient option, a good number of vets will refuse to do it.
However, if euthanasia is the option that will save the dog a lot of pain, vets usually do not have a problem with it.