Preparing for Your Dog’s Annual Vet Visit

Category_Dogs Category_Health Category_Informational Category_Vet Writer_Carrie_Pallardy

Sparky Steps - Preparing Your Dogs Annual Vet Visit

Preparing for Your Dog’s Annual Vet Visit

Dogs may live a simple life, but they need routine healthcare just like people. Once you get past the multiple visits necessary in the first year of a puppy’s life, you can expect routine annual vet appointments for a healthy dog. What should you expect during these annual visits?

The Cost

Owning a dog means having a constant companion, but it is also a financial commitment. Food, toys, grooming, and veterinary visits all add up over the course of the dog’s lifetime. The American Kennel Club estimates the cost of dog ownership at $15,051 for small dogs, $15,782 for medium dogs, and $14,480 for large dogs. How much can you expect to spend on your dog’s health checkups? A routine yearly vet visit can cost between $200 and $300, according to The Spruce Pets. The cost can include the vet’s wellness exam, blood work, and vaccinations. The price can vary greatly depending on where you live and any other health issues your dog may have.

What to Bring

Your dog, her collar, and her leash are the bare necessities you will need for a smooth vet visit, but there are a few other important items to remember.
  • Fecal sample. When your dog goes to the bathroom on the day of the vet visit, save the stool in a bag or airtight container. It is important to bring a fresh sample, rather than one that has been stored for more than a day. The vet will examine your dog’s stool for any parasites, such as hookworms and giardia.
  • Medical history. If you have been bringing your dog to the same vet since he or she was a puppy, you do not have to worry about this part. If you taking your dog to a new veterinary office or he has had care at another facility, bring all pertinent medical records with you to the annual checkup. This information will help your vet understand your dog’s overall health and determine if there are any areas of concern.
  • Treats. Many dogs find their annual vet visits to be a source of anxiety. Bring a small amount of her favorite treats to help distract her during the physical exam and to reward good behavior.

Questions to Ask

The annual vet visit is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have about your dog’s health. Here are just a few to consider:
  • Is my dog’s weight where it should be?
  • What vaccinations does my dog need?
  • Do my dog’s teeth need to be cleaned?
  • How can I address any behavior or anxiety issues?
  • Does my dog need any veterinary care beyond this annual exam?

What to Expect During the Exam

Once you arrive at the vet’s office with your dog, his sample and medical history, and your list of questions, you will wait for a few minutes before being called back to the exam room. In the exam room, a veterinary technician will likely come in first to greet you and your dog, ask initial questions, and weigh your pup. When the vet comes in, he or she will ask you basic questions about your dog’s care. What do you feed your dog? How often does she get exercise? Do you use a heartworm preventative? Do you have any particular concerns? Next up will be the physical exam. Your dog will stand on an elevated table. The veterinary technician will likely help keep your dog still while the vet examines your dog’s eyes, nose, ears, skin, coat, abdomen, and paws. The vet will also take your dog’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. A normal temperature for a dog is between 101 and 102.5⁰ Fahrenheit, according to PetMD. If anything concerning is discovered during the exam, the vet will discuss it with you. After the exam, the vet will discuss and administer the vaccinations your dog needs. The vet may also take a blood sample as a part of the annual wellness checkup. Most veterinary offices will call you with the results of the stool sample analysis and blood work within a few days of the appointment. 

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Written by Carrie Pallardy

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