How often should I take my dog for a vet check-up?

How often should I take my dog for a vet check-up?

Published on 30th March, 2022 at 10:22 am

Taking your dog for a regular vet check-up can stand them in good stead for a happy, healthy life. Here’s how often you should go and what to expect at the vet.

South Africans clearly know that dogs are man’s best friend, with SA’s pet industry valued at more than R7 billion. It’s no surprise! According to a 2021 Pet Ownership Survey conducted by SoundInsights, 90% of pet owners feel that having a pet adds value to their lives and benefits their family’s wellbeing. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the responsibilities and costs involved with having a furry family member, especially those relating to pet healthcare. One of them is taking your dog for vet check-ups so that you can ensure they’re in good health, happy and comfortable.

Pet Care is one of several benefits Reality Access for Fedhealth members get to enjoy and help save big when it matters most. Get accident cover for your pets valued at up to R5 000 a year. Plus, enjoy a 50% discount on pet health insurance premiums for the first three months of cover.

How often should my dog go for a vet check-up?

We know to take our pets to the vet if they have been involved in an accident or are showing signs of sickness or extreme distress. But how often should they be going for a check-up if they lead a healthy, accident-free life? “This depends on the life stage that your dog is in,” explains senior vet at Bryanston Veterinary Hospital and Referral Centre Dr Chris Collie.

If they’re a puppy (birth to one year)

“They need a vet visit to receive their primary core vaccinations. These protect them from diseases such as the deadly parvovirus and distemper, as well as kennel cough and rabies. These are usually done monthly for the first two to three months to keep them safe. It also allows them to get used to going to the vet, so they don’t only associate it with traumatic experiences.”

If they’re an adult (one to seven years)

Once they’ve had their full round of initial shots, their visits needn’t be as frequent. “After their initial vaccinations, they should be booked in at least once a year for check-ups and a vaccination top-up,” he says. That is until they start to show signs of age.

If they’re senior (eight+ years)

“As your dog gets older, biannual vet visits are ideal,” says Dr Collie. “This allows the vet to keep an eye on any weight or dental issues and screen for any age-related issues.” It should go without saying that if you have noticed any problems, you should also take them to the vet. “The sooner a vet can identify what is wrong, the greater chance they have of being able to help.”

What can I expect from an annual vet check-up?

“First, a thorough history should be discussed and then the pet should be examined from nose to tail,” explains Dr Collie. “This includes the mouth, eyes and ears, as well as feeling the abdomen and checking their legs, joints and skin. Lastly, we listen to their heart and lungs to rule out any abnormalities and take their temperature.” These should all be done using a hands-on approach if possible. This is why socialisation at the puppy stage is critical to avoid issues with fear and aggression later on.

Based on this examination, the vet decides whether further tests or procedures are necessary. “If your dog needs more care, options are discussed and a plan is formed with your vet to avoid any miscommunication or additional stress,” says Dr Collie.

How much does a standard vet check-up for a dog cost?

According to Dr Collie, the cost of your dog’s annual check-up depends on where you live. It can cost anything from R450 to R750 for an examination. But the peace of mind you get, knowing your hound is happy and healthy? Priceless!

As a Reality Access for Fedhealth member, you have access to a Pet Care benefit, which offers up to R5 000 a year in accident cover for your cat or dog. You will be reimbursed up to 100% if your cat or dog is accidentally injured. Plus, you enjoy a 50% discount on pet health insurance premiums for the first three months of cover.

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