Veterinary Care

How Often You Should You Be Taking Your Pet to the Vet

By Odie Blog Editors on April 23, 2021

When you agree to raise a pet, you are committing yourself to take care of all of your furry friend’s physical and emotional needs. Feeding, grooming, playing, and exercise: all are daily tasks that should be a part of your regular pet routine. 

However, a huge part of providing proper care for your animal is taking them to an animal hospital or vet clinic for regular checkups. A trusted veterinarian will perform a physical exam on your animal and assess its overall health and development. But how often should you be taking your pet to the vet?

0-1 Years:

During the first year of your pet’s life, they will need regular and frequent vet checkups to ensure that they are growing in a proper, healthy way. When you bring your puppy or kitten home, plan to visit the vet within a couple of weeks. You will have to bring your infant animals to the vet every three to four weeks for vaccines until they are sixteen weeks old. At this stage, and depending on your community requirements, your pet may also start heartworm, flea, or tick-prevention medications. At around six months, your vet may recommend that your animal be spayed or neutered. You can also take this time to ask your vet about housebreaking, training, and socializing, which are also signs of your animal’s health development.

1-7 Years :

“Adulthood” begins around 1 year of age. Once your pet is 1-2 years old, they will have to attend their yearly vet checkups. During these annual checkups, a vet will perform a complete physical check, take a blood sample, and administer updated booster shots as needed. You may be asked to bring in your pet’s stool sample, which the vet can check for intestinal parasites. Distemper-parvo and rabies shots happen during the first yearly checkup, and then usually every three years after that, but the frequency of these shots depends on what state you are living in. During these years of your pet’s life, it’s important to monitor your cat or dog for signs of pain, illness, or infection. If your furry friend is hurt or sick, then you should still take them to the animal hospital as soon as possible.

7+ Years:

Once your pet is over seven years old, they are official “seniors” animals! Vets recommend two checkups per year for senior animals, because the older your pets are, the most likely they are to develop health problems. Your vet will continue performing medical exams on your cat or dog, paying particular attention to blood and urine tests to check on the health of their internal organs. At this stage, your vet may recommend special diets or care instructions for your senior pet. You should also pay attention to any behavioral changes in your aging pet; if they are drinking more water than usual, or acting especially low-energy, then these could be early signs of disease. And the earlier your pet receives treatment, the better!

Just like your individual or family health care plan, pets need routine pet care coverage to help pay for their regular vet visits — vet visit coverage that can help keep your furry little friend in tip-top shape and ahead of any diseases and sicknesses that could keep them from feeling and being their best. There’s no reason to miss any of your scheduled vet visits because it’s all covered. Our Routine Care plans cover preventive care procedures that are done at routine visits such as vaccinations, flea and tick medications, and exams. To learn more about our Routine Care plans – how much you can save, what they cover, and our prices – go to our “Routine Pet Care Coverage” tab at the top of this webpage.

When Should I Take My Pet to the Vet?

There are times to worry about your pet and there are times to enjoy their company. But if you’re starting to worry about your pet’s odd behavior or habits, it may be time to take them to the vet. After all, when to take your pet to the vet isn’t quite as straightforward as you would think. Some believe that age has something to do with it, or that pets may need to be brought to the vet often, but it’s more about paying attention and making note of any significant change that may represent a health problem that should be addressed.

While it’s true that your pet can’t exactly talk to you about what’s bothering them, knowing the warning signs and paying attention to their behavior can help you stay ahead of problems that could be jeopardizing the health of your pet, enabling you to get them help sooner rather than later. Here are some more reasons for when you should consider taking your pet to the vet.

They’ve Started Eating Differently

A missed meal or two may not be cause for alarm, but if your pet is languishing around without an appetite for more than a couple days and it’s not the result of a recent dietary change or another type of known cause, you may have a sick pet on your hands. Furthermore, if you have a well-behaved pet that is starting to root around in the pantry in search of other foods, it might be best to have them checked out by a vet.

An Increase in Thirst

If your pet has started drinking much more water than normal, it could be a sign of a larger health issue. Drinking more water has been linked with diabetes and kidney disease, and if you’re having to fill up their water bowl significantly more than normal, bathroom accidents in the home are increasing or they’re asking to go outside more often, an increase in thirst could be just the tip of the iceberg.

A Hard or Dry Coat

Many pet owners may only elect to take them to the vet if they’re acting strange or they’re obviously hurt. But sometimes all it takes is a look at their coat. If it’s dry, rough and dull — a far cry from the thick, shiny and soft coat of a healthy pet — your pet could have some sort of health issue such as an allergy or skin disease. To get to the bottom of what’s going on, it’s best to schedule a visit with your vet.

Tired or Sluggish

If your formerly energetic pet is now spending their days lying around and disinterested in playing or participating in activities that they formerly looked forward to, they may be troubled by some kind of health issue. While you don’t have to take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice some kind of tiredness, a pet that rejects activity for more than a few days could be suffering from some kind of bigger health problem.


While one instance of vomiting can be perfectly normal, successive vomiting or vomiting over the course of a few days could illustrate a larger health issue. Additionally, if your pet vomits blood or is running a fever along with the vomiting, it could point to something wrong with their health. In some instances, vomiting can also lead to dehydration and diarrhea, so it’s important to seek care as soon as possible. 

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