Dr. Franck, I’m wondering how often I should take my dog to the vet. Can you please help me?
Of course, I can! If I can answer this question in two words, I would say ‘it depends’!!! Haha!
I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but I like to be funny sometimes 😉
So to make it up to you, let me explain in more detail what I mean.
So since ‘it depends’ on each situation, let’s still try to cover some of these situations to help you when you ask the question next time…
Let’s start with the simplest situation
Once a year, your dog should see a vet for an annual check-up.
How simple is that? Remember that your dog gets several years older each year.
So with each passing year, this represents about 5-7 years for him (depending on the breed).
In short, it is important to make sure that your dog is in good health so as not to miss out on problems that can be prevented.
Your dog is getting a little old and he is still fine or he has some problems that are under control.
Then a frequency of once a year is still adequate, although some old dogs’ problems may need more frequent visits. For example, some blood or urine tests may need to be done 2-3 times a year. Your veterinarian will be able to give you more information on this subject.
Your dog has concerns that have not been investigated or treated, so don’t wait for the annual exam and do it now!
Being patient is rarely a good idea about our pets’ health concerns. It is preferable to call and make an appointment before the problems become much worse.
Things are not going well, my dog seems to be losing weight and eating less.
Also, he is breathing heavily and doesn’t look well. I don’t need to draw you a picture: this is urgent and you shouldn’t wait another day. Some of the local clinics have reserved appointments for emergencies. Otherwise, there are larger veterinary centers that have teams dedicated to this task.
As you’ve now realized, you can use your common sense to know when to take your dog to the vet.
If you are worried, you probably have good reason to be.
If you’re not sure if you should be worried or not, there’s a veterinary team that can answer your questions. It can also be handy to have a veterinarian neighbor, although that’s more of a coincidence…
In any case, it’s often better to go see a veterinarian sooner than later.
I hope that this has enlightened you a bit.
Tell me, I’m curious: how often do you take your dog to the vet and do you think that’s enough in general?
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Francis Lagacé has been a member of the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec since 2004. He practiced for 16 years in several veterinary clinics across Canada. He treated animals of all types, mainly cats, dogs and exotic animals (rabbits, rodents, ferrets, birds, reptiles). Since 2020 he has been working in the field of veterinary pharmacovigilance. You can find him on LinkedIn.