How Often Should You Take Your Dog & Cat To The Vet?

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Becoming a pet parent comes with a lot of responsibilities, but one of the most important of these is taking your dog or cat to the veterinarian on a regular basis. This is essential for helping to ensure that your beloved pet can live a full and healthy life.

But of course, for first-time pet parents, one of the most common questions is – how often should you take your dog or cat to the vet ?

In this post, you will learn more about what to expect regarding your pet and her veterinary appointments. We have separated the following sections into age groups, because animals have different veterinary needs at different stages of life.

Kittens and Puppies (Up to One Year Old)

The minimum age that a kitten or a puppy is typically allowed to go home with her new family is usually around four months of age. But this all depends on where you’re adopting or buying your new pet from. If you take your kitten or puppy home before she’s four months old, then you can expect to take her to the vet every three to four weeks. This is so the vet can perform regular health checkups and administer all of her vaccinations.

Around the four- to six-month mark is when most kittens and puppies are spayed or neutered. This is also the age where monthly flea medication can be started. Because the first year of a kitten or puppy’s life sets the stage for her future health and wellness, it’s important to make sure your pet visits the veterinarian regularly according to the vet’s schedule.

Adult Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs are considered “adults” after their first year of life. After your pet has reached one year of age, she will usually need to visit her veterinarian once a year for an annual checkup and to receive any booster shots. During this visit, your vet will perform a complete physical examination of your pet to check for any signs of concern. As long as your pet remains healthy and doesn’t show any signs of illness, this will be your only visit for the year.

It is important to note, however, that your pet isn’t restricted to just one vet visit per year. You can and should take your cat or dog to the vet or an emergency animal hospital any time you notice her exhibiting signs of pain or illness. This will allow your pet to receive the care and treatment she needs right away, so she can return to her usual good state of health.

Senior Cats and Dogs

The first question to answer here is – when is your cat or dog considered a “senior?” While cats are generally considered seniors at 11 years of age, dogs differ based on their size. For instance, small breed dogs are considered seniors when they reach 11 to 12 years of age. Medium size dogs are considered seniors at 10 years of age. Large breed dogs are seniors at 8 years of age. And lastly, giant-breed dogs are considered seniors at 7 years of age.

Not unlike humans, older cats and dogs will almost always require more health care than they did in their younger years. Instead of an annual veterinary visit, most vets will want to see a senior pet at least twice a year. These visits are important, so your senior pet can have a complete physical exam, receive any necessary vaccines, and undergo any further health tests during these visits. When you take your senior pet to the vet, it’s important to let the vet know of any changes in your pet’s health, appetite, bathroom habits, or behavior, so she can receive the best care possible.

It is important to note that visiting the vet is one of the most expensive aspects of being a pet parent, especially during a kitten’s or puppy’s first year. As a result, many new pet parents who aren’t ready for the expense might be tempted to skip a regularly scheduled visit. This would be a terrible mistake.

Before bringing a new pet into the home, make sure you are prepared for the financial obligation of ensuring that your pet can visit her vet regularly, because this is the most important step in helping your pet stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

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