As a dog or cat owner, you know that your pet needs regular veterinarian checkups to ensure proper health and long life. But how often, precisely, should they be getting checkups?
Pets are our best friends, and they bring so much love to our homes. Bringing a new pet brings a lot of fun but also a lot of responsibility. Feeding, training, and social interaction are some important parts of pet development and growth. We should want the best care for them to live happily and healthy.
Here is an easy breakdown for your pet in age ranges from birth to senior ages that will help you determine how often your furry companion should visit the vet.
BIRTH TO 1-YEAR OF AGE
You will have to bring in your puppy or kitten for vaccines every 3-4 weeks until they are around four months old. Cats get tests for feline leukemia as well as immunodeficiency virus and receive vaccines that cover multiple diseases. Dogs are administered multiple vaccines: rabies shots, distemper-parvo, kennel cough, influenza, and Lyme disease.
Your vet should also be starting on a heartworm and tick/flea prevention medication. Typically you receive dosages for this each month and may have to renew prescriptions every few months with your vet.
When your pup or kitten reaches six months of age, the vet will not only examine for adequate growth and not showing signs of illness, but this is usually when pets are spayed or neutered.
This stage of your pet’s life will also bring up questions from your vet on things like specific training, socialization, and housebreaking. Veterinarians in Garden City, NY, add that you should come prepared to talk to your veterinarian about any issues with routines you have with your pets. Important things might include your pet’s exercising/playing, how your pet behaves around your children, and other areas that might be a potential concern.
ADULTS (APPROXIMATELY 1-7 YEARS OF AGE)
In this age range, dogs and cats are now considered to be adults. Veterinarians suggest that yearly checkups for relatively healthy pets should be enough.
During those checkups, the vet will give your dog or cat a proper, all-over physical to check for any skin issues, and usually will also take a blood sample to check for heartworms – this is done with dogs only, as cats don’t usually get tested. They check on various things like your pet’s lungs and heart and look into the pet’s eyes, teeth, and ears.
Depending on how things look, the vet may recommend other tests if there are any problem areas or issues with anything that may come up during the exam. Rabies and distemper shots are usually administered within the first year and then every three years after. It can also help bring in a stool sample for the vet to test for possible parasites.
In the adult years, the vet may also ask (again) about things like behavior and training, as well things like diet and nutrition, and how your pet seems physically overall. If you have any concerns with these matters, you should be sure to bring them up for the vet to focus on during the exam.
SENIORS (7+ YEARS OF AGE)
As your pet ages from adult to senior years of life, they tend to be more prone to health problems. The best detection for these issues is early prevention, so the sooner you can recognize that something is off, the sooner you should bring your pet in for a checkup.
Vets usually suggest seeing your older pets two times a year. Your cat or dog will receive vaccines and go through a complete physical examination. There will be tests administered for follow-up on anything unusual or problems.
Blood and urine tests can also give your vet insight into your pet’s liver and kidney health, thyroid levels, and more. If you have seen anything unusual or different with your pet, like a loss of interest or irritability, etc. – this could be a sign of an illness, so be sure to ask your vet about it.
In between your regular checkups, there is the possibility that an emergency can come up, and knowing signs to look for can help with prevention in getting your pet to the vet immediately. Make sure to call or bring your pet in right away if you see any of the following symptoms with your pet:
- Having trouble breathing, or loss of consciousness
- Vomiting or had diarrhea for longer than a 24 hour period
- Has possibly broken a bone
- Ingested something foreign or toxic like poison or cleaner
- Is demonstrating that they are in great pain (whining, shaking, prolonged movements)
- Having trouble getting up or seems disoriented
You know your animal the best, so you need to trust your instincts here. If there is a noticeable shift in behavior, you should probably call the vet.
Regular visits and checkups can help your pet stay healthy and live a long, happy, pain-free life. Make sure you are taking care of your pet and give them the best care possible.