Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM
I get this question a lot and the short answer is, it depends. Just like with us humans, there are many factors that may necessitate a dog to go to the vet such as illness or injury. In general, all dogs should receive a physical exam by a veterinarian at least once a year. These visits are a key part of preventative care for our pets.
Puppies need to be seen by a vet more frequently. They generally need to receive vaccines every 3-4 weeks from 8 weeks old until they are about 16 weeks old. These puppy visits are also an opportunity for the veterinary staff to discuss common puppy problems and questions with owners. It’s a great time for the owners to ask the vet questions about their new puppy too. After a puppy receives their basic puppy vaccines, they may not need to be seen until they are ready to get spayed or neutered. This is anywhere from 6 months old to over 1 year old. Ask your veterinarian when the recommended time is for spaying or neutering your pet.
Senior dogs also need more frequent vet visits. A dog is classified as a senior based on their breed so ask your veterinarian what age your dog may be considered a senior. It’s recommended senior dogs receive at least semi-annual vet visits. This allows the veterinarian to potentially pick up on problems or changes early on. Veterinarians will also recommend periodic testing for senior pets. Even if the tests come back normal, they can provide a very important baseline which future tests can be compared.
Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.