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Published: Feb 29, 2024 5 min read

Gauging how much veterinary attention your dog should receive requires having a good grasp of what dogs need at different points in their lives. In order to maintain their pets’ health, dog owners must be in tune with these needs and provide vet care accordingly. Read on to find out how often you should take dogs to the vet based on their needs, from puppyhood to their golden years.

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Vet-visit frequency according to your dog’s age and health condition

Unless there’s an immediate threat to your dog’s health or signs of an illness or injury, the frequency at which they should visit the vet hinges on the life stage they’re at and on whether or not they’re in good health.

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As many dogs are adopted when they’re only eight weeks of age (approximately two months old), owners should immediately schedule a vet visit for an initial examination to take care of common puppy health issues like intestinal parasites. During your puppy’s first year, their vet visits will mostly consist of immunization as well as heartworm, flea and tick prevention.

Puppies are required to get rabies vaccines in most states. Another core vaccine that will be administered to your puppy is the distemper combination vaccine, which protects against canine distemper, canine adenovirus types 1 (hepatitis) and 2, canine parainfluenza and canine parvovirus. Noncore vaccines the vet may recommend for your puppy include vaccines for bordetella (kennel cough), leptospirosis, lyme disease, canine influenza and even rattlesnake poison.

Among your puppy’s visits to the vet, you also have to schedule for them to be spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering is usually done when a puppy is over six months old. However, some giant breeds may need to be sterilized once they reach adulthood.

Healthy adult dogs

Adult dogs that are healthy will only need to be taken in for annual wellness exams. During these visits, your dog can also receive preventive care and all of their booster shots.

Your dog’s health care should also include professional dental cleanings, which experts recommend be done on a yearly basis. Taking care of your dog’s teeth will help avoid dental diseases and issues related to bad oral health.

Adult dogs with medical conditions

If your dog suffers from a condition that requires constant monitoring, they will probably need more regular checkups than an average healthy dog. Depending on the condition, your dog may need to get blood work and other tests aside from physical exams. Dogs suffering from certain illnesses, such as kidney disease, must also go to the vet more frequently to get treatments.

Senior dogs

Dogs are considered seniors when they’re over ten years of age, although it depends on the breed. Because older dogs are more likely to become ill, it’s important for pet parents to check in on their overall health more often. Bi-annual wellness checkups could help veterinarians catch signs of illnesses and begin treating dogs sooner.

How often you should take your dog to the vet FAQs

How many times should my puppy visit the vet?

Puppies should visit the vet as many times as needed in order to get all of their core vaccines and respective dosages as well as any optional vaccinations recommended by your veterinarian.

How often should my dog have a vet check-up?

The frequency at which your dog should receive care from a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) is contingent on factors like their age and health.

How do I know if I should take my dog to the vet?

If they’re not in immediate danger or pain, you should think back on the last time they went to the vet and had a checkup. If you can’t remember, it’s probably time.

Summary of Money’s guide on how often to take a dog to the vet

  • The level of veterinary care and attention a dog needs will depend on how old and healthy they are.
  • Puppies should visit the vet as many times as necessary in order to complete their vaccination schedules.
  • Annual checkups are a good standard for adult dogs who are in good health.
  • Senior dogs and adult dogs with health problems need veterinary attention on a more regular basis.
  • Certain illnesses require treatments that in turn warrant more vet visits than others.

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