How often you should take your pet to the vet depends on many factors, including what type of pet you have, how old your pet is, and what life stage your pet is at. It’s important to understand your pet’s health needs as they age to ensure that your pet doesn’t miss any important vaccinations or other milestones.
How often should you take your pet for routine checkups?
For most types of small pets, including cats, dogs, hamsters, and tortoises, it’s important to take your pet to the vet for annual checkups. This means that, even when your pet seems to be in good health, your vet will perform a few small tests and visual checks to make sure there is nothing indicating your pet is unwell.
How does age affect how often you should take your pet to the vet?
You may need to take your pet to the vet more often if they are either especially young or especially old. In the case of young pets like puppies and kittens, you will need to take your pet to the vet to receive their vaccinations in the first few months of life, as well as getting them spayed or neutered. Kittens and puppies are also more susceptible to illness than older cats and dogs, which is why it’s important to have them examined by a vet once every six months at this age.
During mid-life, between around 1 and 7 years old, most cats and dogs are healthy and, if there are no signs of illness, can be taken to the vet for annual checkups and regular booster vaccinations. When your pet approaches 7 years old or older, it is recommended you increase the number of times a year that you take your pet to the vet from once to twice. This is because your pet is more likely, in older age, to develop an illness, and catching this illness sooner can improve the chances of a fast and effective recovery.
What if my pet is unwell?
If your pet has a long-term or chronic health condition, you will also need to take them to the vet for more regular checkups to keep this condition under control. Your vet will advise you on how often to bring your pet in based on their symptoms and condition.
If your pet shows signs of being unwell, you should always take them to the vet as soon as possible. Signs of being unwell might include:
- Lethargy or unresponsiveness
- Reduced appetite
- Limping or mobility issues
- Noticeable weight gain or loss
- Sudden mood change
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Rapid breathing or breathlessness
If your pet is showing any of these signs, it’s important to take them to see their vet even if they are not due to go to their annual checkup. The sooner your pet is looked at, the better your pet’s chances of recovery will be if your pet is ill.
Get in Touch
Regularly taking your pet to the vet should help you to keep your pet in good health and provide swift, effective treatment when they fall ill. If you’re not sure whether your pet needs a check-up, contact us at Illawarra Animal Hospital today.