Regular visits to the vet are the best way to ensure your cat or dog stays happy and healthy. Today, our vets at Austin share some advice on how often your cat or dog should have a checkup with a veterinarian.
Veterinary Preventive Care & Early Detection
Keeping your pet healthy and preventing serious illnesses is important.
Regular visits to the vet allow them to monitor your pet's health, catch diseases in their earliest stages, and recommend preventive care for your furry friend.
We understand that some pet owners may worry about the cost of checkups, but being proactive about your pet's health can save you money in the long run.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Taking your pet to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your furry friend in for a physical. As with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends upon your pet's lifestyle, overall health, and age.
Annual wellness exams are typically recommended for healthy adult dogs, but puppies and kittens, senior pets, and animals with underlying health conditions benefit from more frequent examinations.
Puppies & Kittens Up to 12 Months Old
If your pet is less than a year old, then monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
During your puppy or kitten's first year, they are going to need several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases. Recommended vaccines for puppies include distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. Kittens should receive their FVRCP vaccine, which helps to protect your feline friend against 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
Your young friend will receive vaccines during a 16-week period to ensure their good health. The vaccination schedule may differ based on your location and your pet's overall well-being.
It is advisable to have your puppy or kitten spayed or neutered between 6-12 months to prevent several illnesses, undesirable behaviors, and unplanned litters. Our veterinarians suggest this course of action.
Adult Pets Up to 7 Years of Age
For your healthy and active adult dog or cat aged between 1-7 years, it is advised to schedule routine yearly exams. These checkups are conducted even when your pet appears to be in good health.
During the exam, your vet will perform a thorough head-to-tail examination of your pet to detect any early signs of illness or other concerns, like tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.
Additionally, your veterinarian will provide necessary vaccines, guide you on your pet's diet and nutritional requirements, suggest adequate parasite protection, and address any training or behavioral issues you may have noticed.
In case your vet detects any signs of developing health problems, they will discuss their observations with you and suggest suitable next steps.
Senior Dogs & Cats
Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are about 8 years old, except in the case of giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically starting around 5 years of age.
Cats are considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age.
Since many animal diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older pets, we recommend taking your senior dog or cat to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior pet will include all of the checks and advice mentioned above but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide extra insight into your pet's overall health.
Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for pets also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your dog or cat comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior pet, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.
A lot of veterinarians aim to make preventive care more cost-effective for their customers by providing them with Wellness Plans.
At Northwest Austin Veterinary Center, we offer Wellness Plans for dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes to help make your pet's routine healthcare easier on your wallet. With our Wellness Plans, we bundle all the preventive services your pet needs to stay healthy, including routine exams, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and more. Then we give you an affordable monthly payment plan to help you save money and manage your budget.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.