Anyone who has a pet knows that pets are just like your babies. They need a lot of care, attention and regular visits to the vet. But the question is, how often should you be taking your pet to see the doctor? Well, it depends on what life stage your pet is at. Here’s a breakdown of your pet’s medical schedule depending on their age.
1. Kitten Or Puppy Below 1 Year Should Visit Every 3–4 Weeks
When your pet is still an infant, they will need several visits to the vet. Your little one needs to be taken in for vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks till he’s about 16 weeks old. Usually, dogs get vaccinated for distemper-parvo, rabies, and other diseases. Your vet might also recommend shots against other diseases like influenza, kennel cough, and Lyme disease.
Tests for cats usually include screening for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. They also get vaccinations that cover several diseases.
Once the above is done, depending on where you live, your pet will also need to be given flea- and tick-prevention, and heartworm medications. During these visits, your vet will also monitor the overall health and growth of your pet and make sure there are no signs of illness. After six months, you may want to take your pet to be spayed or neutered.
2. Adult Pets From 1–7 Years Should Visit Every 3 Years
Once your pet is an adult, vets usually recommend yearly checkups but the period may differ depending on the pet and breed. The usual practice is to give your pet a head-to-tail physical. If you have a dog, the vet will also take a blood sample to check for heartworms. This test is not normally done for cats as the results are hard to interpret. Depending on the pet’s physical condition, your vet may ask you to get other tests done if he/she sees something unusual during the medical exam.
Rabies and distemper-parvo booster shots are given in the first yearly checkup. After that, it’s mostly once every 3 years. How often animals get rabies boosters depends on state law. You can also get a stool sample of your pet which your vet can then check for intestinal parasites.
3. Aging Pets (7–10+ Years) Should Visit Twice A Year
As your pet gets older, your vet is going to suggest bringing them for checkups twice a year. Vaccinations and booster shots will be given to your cat or dog along with a thorough physical exam. The vet might request for more tests if your pet is showing symptoms of any disease or ill health. A routine blood and urine test will give your vet a fair idea of your pet’s liver and kidney health, and overall hormone levels.
Though it’s your vet’s job to detect health issues in your pet, don’t hold yourself back from talking to your vet about any unusual behavior your pet has been showing. Tests are done for a basic understanding of your pet’s health and cannot determine everything.
Since your pet cannot talk, it’s your responsibility to tell the vet if you have any doubts about the way your pet is behaving. Sometimes, even small things like your pet not being as energetic as before can help the vet detect illness and give your pet the treatment he deserves.