How often you should bring your cat or dog to the vet actually depends on their age. The difference in care between an older animal and a puppy or kitten is very different, which means either more or less visits to the vet. Here is all the information you need to know when scheduling your appointments!
Kitten or Puppy: Birth to 1 Year
Congratulations on your new furry friend! This is such an exciting time and such a pivotal part of your pet’s life as they are introduced to not only your world but the world.
You’ll need to bring your kitten or puppy to the vet for vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. According to Fetch by WebMB, dogs will get shots for rabies, distemper-parvo, and other diseases. They may also need shots to protect against health woes such as kennel cough, influenza, and Lyme disease. Cats will get tests for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. They also get vaccinations that cover several diseases. At this stage, your pet will also start heartworm and flea- and tick prevention medications, if they’re recommended for your area.
Overall, at this age, the veterinarians are looking to make sure that your pet is growing at a healthy rate and show no signs of illness. They also want to check in with you as the owner to see how training at home and socialization in the public are going. After these few early months, your pet won’t need to be seen again until around 6-9 months when they are brought back in to be neutered.
Adult Years: 1 to 7-10 Years
Now that your pet has grown some, and things have started to become routine at home, your vet will most likely recommend a yearly checkup for your dog or cat. Think of it as your own yearly physical! The vet will check to make sure there are no abnormalities, and will most likely also take some blood samples. The vet may recommend other tests based on any problems your pet has or anything unusual they see during the exam. Your dog or cat will most likely also get some booster shots at this annual visit. But always remember, if you have any concerns about your pet, you most certainly can bring them in more than once a year rather than waiting around for that annual check-up!
Senior Years: 7-10 Years and Older
Vets suggest twice-yearly checkups for older pets because just like people, your animal will most likely need more care as it grows older. Just like their younger years, your cat or dog will get vaccinations as needed and will get a thorough physical exam, along with tests to follow up on any pre-existing problems or things that come up during the physical. Blood and urine tests are pretty routine during these bi-yearly check-ups, as they can give your vet the scoop on your pet’s kidney and liver health, thyroid hormone levels, and more – which are all things to look closer at as your pet ages.
In a full-circle fashion, the vet will discuss with you how the pet is acting at home and around others. Make sure to take note at home and discuss with your vet any changes you’ve seen in your pet — ie: their eating and drinking habits, stamina and energy levels, difficulties moving around, major behavior changes, etc.