You spend quality time with your dog each day, so why are those veterinary appointments so important? As is turns out, the answer to this question might surprise you. Read on for the top five reasons to treat your dog to regular checkups.
Checkups Familiarize Your Vet with Your Pet – and Vice Versa
Did you know that the average dog owner spends approximately $3,000 in their first year of dog ownership and approximately $1,500 per year thereafter? This is a staggering amount and shows that dog care is just as important as human care.
Just like “human” doctors, veterinarians keep detailed charts that contain essential information about your dog’s health. Having a baseline that includes information about your pet’s weight, vaccinations, and any known issues helps unusual things stand out if and when they occur. With regular visits, your vet finds it easier to spot subtle changes that could turn into big problems if not addressed early on.
While some dogs are happy to go anywhere and everywhere, others have a hard time with new places. Another reason for regular dog checkups is to familiarize your pet with the sights, sounds and smells of the veterinarian’s office as well as the people who work there. If your dog has an emergency, he’ll feel less stressed when he’s familiar with his surroundings. Stop by the vet with your dog often if he’s particularly nervous – even if you don’t have an appointment, simply popping in to say hello can get him used to the idea of walking in the door and receiving positive attention just for showing up.
Your Dog Needs Pest Preventatives – And So Do You!
Nobody likes to see their pet suffer, and fleas, ticks, and parasites can affect you and your family just like they do your pet. With tick-borne diseases on the rise, it’s more important than ever to get your dog onto a solid flea and tick prevention plan and to ensure that heartworm preventatives are on board, too.
Even though pests seem like a simple problem, it’s far easier to prevent an infestation than it is to deal with problems after the fact.
Your Vet Sees Your Dog Differently than You Do
Don’t get us wrong: Your vet cares deeply about your dog. But as professionals, veterinarians assess pets based on things like body condition, dental health, responses to stimuli, and more. Because you see your dog every day, issues might not be as noticeable for you as they are for your vet.
Your Dog Needs Specific Treatments
Every dog needs different things at certain life stages. Here are a few common reasons to make an appointment with the vet:
- Your puppy needs to be spayed or neutered
- It’s time for vaccinations
- Your dog needs dental care to prevent painful problems and bacteria-related diseases (giving them regular dental chews will help)
- Your senior dog needs bloodwork to provide an overview of internal health; issues we can’t see with our eyes are often revealed by a blood panel
You Get to Ask Questions!
Since your dog can’t speak up for himself, one of the most important features of any vet checkup is the opportunity to ask questions. Some to consider:
- What’s the healthiest food for my dog based on his condition?
- Is my dog at a healthy weight?
- Am I on using the right kind of flea, tick, and heartworm prevention?
- What is this (lump, bump, etc.)? Is it something I should worry about?
- Is this weird behavior normal?
- My dog is shedding a lot of hair onto the carpet, is this normal?
By addressing questions like these directly, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that your dog stays healthy. Just like you do before your own doctors’ visits, it’s a great idea to take a couple of quick notes that include questions you might have, so nothing is missed along the way. Most important of all, have your dog examined at least once a year, so any issues can be handled before serious health problems emerge. With regular checkups, healthy food, and lots of love, your dog is more likely to live a long, enjoyable life as your four-legged best friend.