While every pet is different, there are some general guidelines that can help you decide how often your pet should see the veterinarian. If your pet is young, healthy — and exhibiting no troubling symptoms — it’s a good idea to bring your pet to the veterinarian twice a year for a well check. This will allow your veterinarian to catch anything that could possibly be a problem early. Once your pet enters his or her senior years (around age 6 or 7 for dogs and age 8 or 9 for cats), your pet should see the veterinarian more often.
Additionally, you should always take your pet to the veterinarian if you notice any troubling behavior or symptoms or behaviors that are out of the norm for your pet and concerning to you. Our pets are creatures of habit, so when their behavior changes, there’s a reason for it… and we want to take notice. These symptoms / behavior changes can include — but are not limited to– the following:
- Significant increase in water consumption.
- Significant increase in urination.
- A noticeable change in normal, routine behavior.
- Weight loss.
- Significant decrease in appetite or failure to eat for more than two consecutive days.
- Significant increase in appetite.
- Repeated vomiting.
- Diarrhea that lasts over 48 hours.
- Suddenly using the bathroom in the house.
- Lameness that lasts more than a day or two and / or lameness in more than one leg.
- Unexplained masses, sores or scabs on the skin.
- Miserable, itchy skin.
- A change in sleeping habits, which can be that they’re not sleeping at night or they’re sleeping much more than usual during the day.
- Hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching or if in specific areas (as opposed to generalized).
- Persistent coughing or gagging.
- Excessive panting, not explained by recent exercise or heat.