Here at Paddington Pups, we often recommend seeking the advice of a vet to ensure the optimal health and wellbeing of your dog. But what does it really mean, and why is it so important? Just like humans, dogs require regular medical attention to stay healthy, and regular vet check-ups are the best way to prevent potential health problems from developing. In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why regular vet check-ups are essential for your dog and how your vet can help you keep on top of any issues or concerns you have about their health and wellbeing.
What are the benefits of taking your dog for regular vet check-ups?
Although it may seem unnecessary to take your dog for a vet check-up when they are healthy and well, there are many benefits to scheduling check-ups on a regular basis, not just when they are sick. Some of these benefits include:
- Early detection of health issues – regular vet check-ups can help detect health issues before they become serious problems. A vet can detect signs of illness or disease during a routine examination and can provide early intervention to prevent further health issues.
- Prevention of diseases – regular check-ups also provide an opportunity to keep up with necessary vaccinations, parasite prevention, and other preventative measures that can help keep your dog healthy and free from diseases.
- Monitoring ageing – as dogs age, they may require more frequent check-ups to monitor changes in their health, such as arthritis or cognitive decline. Early detection and treatment of these issues can help maintain good quality of life for senior dogs.
- Dental care – regular check-ups allow the vet to monitor your dog’s dental hygiene, and provide necessary dental care such as teeth cleaning, which is important in preventing dental disease and maintaining overall health.
- Behaviour issues – Some behaviour issues in dogs may require medical attention, and a vet can diagnose and treat these issues during a routine check-up.
How often should you take your dog for a vet check-up?
It is generally recommended to take your dog for a vet check-up at least once a year. This annual check-up allows the veterinarian to assess your dog’s overall health and wellbeing, identify any health issues, and recommend any necessary treatments or preventative measures.
However, it’s important to take your dog to the vet whenever is required, if they seem unwell, sustain an injury or if any issues arise that you need to seek professional advice about.
The frequency of vet check-ups may depend on factors such as your dog’s age, health situation, and lifestyle. Senior dogs and dogs with chronic health conditions may require more frequent check-ups to monitor their health and manage any issues. Puppies and newly adopted dogs may also need more frequent check-ups to ensure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and are developing properly.
If you’re unsure about how often you should book your dog in for a check-up, consult with your vet to determine the appropriate frequency based on their individual needs. Your vet may also recommend additional check-ups or tests based on any specific health concerns or changes in your dog’s behaviour or health.
When to take your dog to the vet
Outside of their annual check-up, there are many reasons why you may need to take your dog to the vet. Obviously, your dog can’t tell you if there’s something wrong or they’re feeling unwell, so it’s important to be aware of any signs that your dog isn’t feeling 100%.
As a general rule, if you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour, habits, appetite, mood or energy level, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet for a check-up. Here are some signs that could indicate you may need to take your dog to see a vet:
- Diarrhoea or vomiting – if your dog has been vomiting or has had diarrhoea for a prolonged period (24 hours or more) this could be a sign of an upset stomach, infection, or something more serious.
- Coughing or sneezing – this may indicate a respiratory infection or influenza, especially if they have been coughing or sneezing consistently for a while.
- Loss of appetite – if your dog suddenly loses interest in food or stops eating altogether, a vet can check for digestive issues, obstructions or other health issues.
- Change in drinking habits – if your dog stops drinking water, or if they start drinking excessively, a vet can check for diabetes or kidney disease or other infections.
- Exhaustion and tiredness – if your dog is unusually tired or lethargic and doesn’t want to engage in play or normal everyday activities, it could indicate underlying health issues.
- Changes in behaviour – if your dog is displaying abnormal behaviour, such as aggression, fearfulness, or excessive licking, it may be a sign of ill health. Your vet will be able to diagnose the cause of the behavioural issues or in some cases, may refer you to a veterinary behaviourist.
- Mobility issues – if your dog is limping, having difficulty moving or showing signs of pain they could be suffering with joint inflammation or arthritis.
- Paralysis ticks – take your dog to the vet if they have a tick – even if you have removed it yourself there still may be poison in their bloodstream so it’s always best to get it checked.
- Skin or coat issues – if your dog is experiencing itching, redness, hot spots or hair loss, it may indicate an allergic reaction or skin infection.
- In an emergency situation – if your dog has been in a fight with another dog, been hit by a car, broken a bone or suffered some other kind of trauma, always take your dog to the vet as soon as possible to get them checked
If you notice any of these signs or anything else out of the ordinary, it’s important to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible for a check-up and appropriate treatment. One of the added benefits of bringing them into daycare is that we are able to let you know of any changes in their behaviour or if they have had any unfavourable stools or vomiting that you otherwise may not know about while you’re away or at work!
Regular vet check-ups are crucial for the health and wellbeing of dogs. Preventative health care for your dog provides an opportunity to detect health issues early, prevent diseases and keep them at optimal health, increasing their longevity and quality of life. Speak to your local vet to schedule in visits at a frequency that is adequate for your dog’s health status and stage of life. Just like any other member of your family, taking care of your dog’s health should always be a top priority.