Pet owners give their animals different degrees of attention and care. While some dogs enjoy plush bedding and extravagant accessories, others are limited to little more than a leash and a collar. The same goes for health care: some dog lovers rush their canine to the vet once a week for tooth brushing and ear cleaning. Other dogs only visit the veterinary office when they are sick or hurt, merely once or twice in their life. So how often should a dog visit a vet?
The frequency that you take your dog to the vet depends a lot on the age of the pet. Puppies and older dogs often require more vet visits than healthy, middle aged canines.
Puppies need a series of vaccinations to protect them against disease such as parvovirus and rabies. These shots usually occur before the pup is four months of age. The puppy will need to make about three visits to the vet's office during this time. Once your puppy has been given all of its vaccinations, the trips to the vet will not be as frequent.
Most veterinarians will recommend that grown dogs (up to six years old) make yearly visits to the doctor for checkups. During these visits, the dog will be examined for potential health problems, worms and infestations such as ticks and fleas. The dog's weight will be checked, and it will get its annual rabies shot. Pet owners have the opportunity to ask any questions.
Dogs with health issues will need to see a vet more frequently, as will dogs who are being monitored for conditions their breed is prone to. Twice a year visits for a healthy animal that may be more susceptible to heath problems is a good idea.
After six years of age, all dogs need to begin biannual vet visits. From then on, canines are considered to be entering their elderly years. This is the time when the animal may begin to develop arthritis and other conditions due to aging. The sooner these are detected by your vet, the easier they are to control.
Other times that you will need to take your dog to the vet's office include when it has an injury, appears sick, or when it is not eating or acting normally. Whether you plan to have your dog spayed or neutered or plan to breed your animal, you will want to make a trip to the vet and discuss the best practices to keep your animal in optimal health.
In most cases, products such as special dietary supplements, flea and tick control and heart worm prevention can be obtained from your vet without taking your dog for a visit.
Many people are reluctant to take their animal for yearly visits to a veterinary office because of the expense. However, diagnosing and preventing disease early is much cheaper than waiting until your canine is sick to make a trip to the vet. Many national animal clinics and even local veterinary offices are now offering annual health plans that reduce the expense of keeping your dog healthy and happy.
Veterinary Care Guidelines for Puppies http://brittanys.com/puppycare.htm
Your Puppy's First Visit to the Vet by PetPlace Veterinarians, http://www.petplace.com/dogs/your-puppy-s-first-visit-to-the-vet/page1.aspx
A Peek At A Puppy Vaccination Schedule http://www.puppy-training-solutions.com/puppy-vaccination-schedule.html
Eukanuba Puppy Guide: Visiting Your Veterinarian, http://www.eukanuba.com/en-US/puppy-guide/visiting-your-veterinarian.jspx
Puppy Pointers by Lexiann Grant, http://www.cyberpet.com/dogs/articles/lexi/firstvet.htm
Doctors Foster and Smith Recommended Vaccination Schedule http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=85