News & Events

How Often Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?

One of the most important parts of pet ownership is proper veterinary care. In addition to treating ailments, regular checkups can help your vet diagnose health conditions before they become a larger issue.

Many dog owners, especially first-time dog owners, often wonder how often to take their dog or puppy to the vet. We’re here to answer your questions with everything you need to know about vet visits.

How Often Should You Take an Adult Dog to the Vet for a Checkup?

Adult dogs need annual vet visits, barring any health conditions that need more frequent attention. During their yearly checkup, your vet will assess their overall health, including their heart, lungs, weight changes and dental health. During their checkup, they’ll also get caught up on any vaccines.

In senior dogs, we recommend checkups every six months. These appointments will likely include bloodwork to check for common diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, and thyroid disease. The earlier these are caught, the earlier treatment can begin. This leads to a higher quality of life for your pet.

The threshold for when a dog is considered senior depends on the breed. Since large breeds typically have a shorter lifespan than smaller breeds, they are considered seniors earlier. Your vet will be able to recommend when to increase your checkups from yearly to twice-yearly.

How Often Should You Take a Puppy to the Vet for a Checkup?

Puppies need to go to the vet more frequently in their first six months, typically a minimum of three times:

  1. At two to three weeks old, they’ll have a checkup to assess their overall health and receive dewormer medication.
  2. At six to eight weeks, they’ll get their first vaccinations, their first round of flea and tick prevention, and heartworm medication. This is also when they’re able to get a microchip if you choose to do so.
  3. At 12-16, they may need to get additional vaccinations and/or have additional wellness checks. Your vet will be able to make recommendations on the right timing for your pup.

When Do You Have to Immediately Take Your Dog to the Vet?

While a lot of conditions may be able to wait until your vet’s next available appointment, there are some signs that your dog needs medical attention immediately. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Drastic changes to eating and drinking habits
  • Lack of energy
  • Vomiting or diarrhea for 6 to 12 hours or more
  • Bloody stools
  • Trouble breathing
  • A weak or fast pulse
  • Drop or rise in body temperature
  • Difficulty walking or standing, or collapse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

In these situations, take your dog to the nearest emergency vet.

Make Care First Animal Hospital Your First Choice

Our team provides compassionate veterinary care to ensure your furry friend is in optimal health. Get started by contacting us for your first appointment.

Back to Blog
An Appointment