According to Statista, in the U.S. alone, over 92 million households have dogs. However, when it comes to caring for the health of their family pet, not every dog owner understands the value of getting checkups. More importantly, not everyone understands how regularly these check ups should be done. Let’s take a moment to discuss how often you should take your dog to the vet, what’s included in these exams and the average price of a vet check up.
How Often Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet?
Most vets recommend that dogs be taken for a checkup at least once a year. However, there are various factors which may increase or lessen the frequency with which they’re seen. Here are a few things that can have a big impact.
Puppies should begin receiving checkups by the age of 4 months and should ideally be seen every month. This ensures that they remain up to date on their vaccinations and that all of their physical and dietary needs are being met. Adult dogs, those at least 1 year old, should be seen once during the year to receive vaccinations, a stool check and dental health exam, and to get tick and flea prevention prescription. Senior dogs, those 6 years or older, should be seen at least twice a year. They must be monitored more frequently due to possible health-related issues.
The size of the dog can also have a big effect on how often they should be seen by a vet. This is because the size of the dog can determine how quickly it ages. In fact, smaller breeds typically reach geriatric stage around 8 years of age. This means they need more attention than the large breeds. Another factor in size is that smaller dogs are more active which means they can often be more prone to getting injuries and are more exposed to pesticides and bacteria that lives outdoors.
While all breeds need check ups, there are some that need to be seen more than others. Certain dog breeds are at higher risks for certain health conditions. They are also more susceptible to specific diseases. This is especially the case for breeds that are prone to genetic conditions.
What’s Included in a Dog Check Up?
A check up ensures that your dog can be treated for any current issues they may have as well as prevent those they may be vulnerable to. And this requires a thorough, hands-on examination. Below is a list of what typically takes place in the exam room. While this list may seem long and extensive, most checkups can be done quickly and only take a matter of minutes.
- Appearance Assessment
Is your dog responsive to sounds and touch? Do they appear to be engaged?
- Gait Evaluation
Is your dog stiff? Do they show signs of lameness? Is there walk asymmetrical?
- Skin and Coat Evaluation
Does your dog have inflammation? Is he or she losing hair? Is their cut shiny?
- Weight Assessment
Is your dog underweight or overweight?
How much does your dog weigh, exactly? What is their body temperature? What is their heart rate?
- Respiratory Rate Assessment
Is your dog breathing the average 10-25 breaths per minute?
- Ear, Eye, Nose and Throat Exam
Does your dog show signs of any abnormalities?
- Lymph Nodes Assessment
Do your dog’s lymph nodes appeared to be enlarged? If so, do they seem to be in pain?
- Heart Exam
Does your dog exhibit unusual sounds when they breathe? Do they have a heart murmur or an abnormality in the rhythm of their heart?
- Abdomen Exam
Is your dog experiencing discomfort in their abdomen?
- Rectal examination
Does your dog have growths around their rectum? Has the dog’s prostate gland enlarged? If so, is it painful? Is the dog’s stool normal?
Vet Checkup Cost
Luckily, the average dog health check up is quite affordable. In fact, most dog owners can expect their vet check up price to be $45-$55. However, your final bill will greatly depend on your dog’s current physical condition as well as their age. Here’s a list of the possible additional services and costs you may be faced with:
- Geriatric Screening. If your dog is 7 years or older, he may require a geriatric screening. This exam is comprehensive and often requires urinalysis, blood work, and x-rays. The typical fee for a geriatric screening is $85 to $110.
- Allergy Exam. If your dog is constantly sneezing, itching, or licking then this may be a sign that he has allergies. An allergy exam requires intradermal skin tests and/or blood work. While skin testing usually costs $190-$250, blood tests can run between $200-$300.
- Dental Work. If your dog experiences bleeding when you brush his teeth, he may be diagnosed with gingivitis. In this case, vets will perform a dental cleaning. This procedure can range from $60-$400, and can vary based on the breed and size of the dog.
- Emergency Surgeries. As with any other animal health check up, it’s quite possible that the vet may find an issue that needs to be taken care of immediately. In this case, your dog may need to undergo surgery. This can result in the bill totaling thousands of dollars, depending on the dog’s specific issue.
If you are a North Carolina resident and would like a more accurate break down of animal health check costs, then consider calling the nearest vet clinic in Marvin, NC, because prices tend to vary depending on the region.
According to Wikipedia, the average lifespan of a dog is between 10-13 years. However, this does not mean that pet owners can’t add on to this timeline. By regularly doing a dog health check, you can ensure that your pet lives a long and healthy life. It’s a good idea to properly budget for these visits so that you will be prepared for any additional costs. You may also consider looking into certain pet insurance plans to help lower the costs.