Have you ever noticed that your dog isn’t always the best at letting you know how they’re feeling, health-wise? Sure, that wagging tail tells you they’re happy, but what does it mean when they start sleeping longer, or not at all? What if they seem less interested in their food, or more interested in water?
These are the kinds of questions your vet can answer at your dog’s annual vet visits. Plus, routine vet care is the best method for preventing health problems in your dog before they arise. To help you and your dog get the most out of your next annual visit, we’re answering some common questions about checkups.
How Often Should a Dog Visit the Vet?
Our friends at Opens a new windowBanfield Pet Hospital recommend partnering with your veterinarian to determine how often you should bring your pet in for comprehensive exams. If you haven’t had a chance to speak with your vet, making time for an annual checkup is a great place to start. Yearly visits help mark milestones in your dog’s growth while monitoring ongoing concerns or spotting new developments. If you haven’t seen your vet in over a year, why not schedule an appointment?
Why Does My Dog Need a Checkup?
Yearly visits are a great opportunity to make a plan for your pet’s health — while spotting any problems before they get more serious. Plus, you may realize you had questions about your pet’s health, but didn’t know how or who to ask.
It’s also important for you and your pet to get comfortable with your veterinarian. Taking your dog to the vet when there are no pressing health concerns gives them a better chance of seeing the vet as a safe and familiar place to visit. (In the event of a sudden or severe change in your pet’s health, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately, rather than waiting for your next scheduled checkup.)
How Much Does a Dog Vet Visit Cost?
Cost is a common concern when it comes to vet visits. You may be wondering, “How much is a vet visit?” Unfortunately, there’s no standard answer. Vet visit cost generally depends on your veterinarian, your location and what type of services they offer during your pet’s checkup, which can include a physical exam, routine bloodwork and vaccinations, and chatting about how your pup is doing and whether you’ve noticed any changes in them. A 2019-2020 survey found that dog owners paid $212 on average for yearly routine vet visits1; many vet offices charge a standard exam fee of $40–$60 with additional costs for other services and diagnostics.2
Some pet health providers, like Banfield, offer annual preventive care packages with payment plans so pet owners have the option to budget the cost over the course of the next 12 months. As with most questions related to your visit, asking your vet is the most direct way to find out.
Right now, IAMS is helping dog owners skip the cost of their yearly checkups altogether. All you have to do is buy two qualifying bags of IAMS dog food; then, redeem your receipts here and IAMS will pay for the cost of your annual checkup. Your dog gets to eat veterinarian-recommended food and you get to save money. Win-win!
How Can I Keep My Dog Healthy Before the Visit?
Nutrition and exercise are two of your most valuable tools to keep your pet on track between vet visits. In addition to examining your pet, your veterinarian can advise on how much exercise your pet needs and the right diet for them.
In general, the best nutritional option for your pet is a consistent, balanced and veterinarian-approved diet that meets their individual nutritional requirements and is appropriate for their life stage. No one formula is ideal for all pets, and your pet’s diet may need to change over time based on their lifestyle, life stage and medical history. That’s why IAMS offers a variety of diets to fit your dog’s unique needs — all designed to help promote healthy digestion, healthy skin and coat, and healthy energy for your best friend.
What Do I Do After My Dog’s Annual Checkup?
Hopefully you’ve followed our tips for helping you and your veterinarian bring out your dog’s unique best by making good use of their annual visit. During the checkup, your vet will probably give you advice on things to watch out for as your dog grows, as well as some practical advice for keeping them healthy in the meantime. Follow their guidance and, above all, keep loving on your furry family member.
1 Pet Industry Market Size, Trends & Ownership Statistics. (2021, March 24). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from Opens a new windowhttps://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp
2 Banfield Price Estimator. (n.d.). Retrieved from Opens a new windowhttps://www.banfield.com/Services/price-estimator
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Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active
It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.
Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health
At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.
Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite
Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.
Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines
Continue to use preventive medicines.
Senior Dog Health: Dental Health
Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.
Senior Dog Health: Exercise
Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.
Senior Dog Health: Diet
Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.
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