How often should I take my dog to the vet? Every responsible puppy owner should know the answer to this question.

But getting a new puppy is so exciting that we often forget to ask for the most basic information. We’re too busy running around getting food, toys, and tools. 

It’s crucial to prepare for the vet and know when to go. So we’re here to answer all your questions about how often to take a puppy to the vet.

Let’s dive right in.

You’ll learn everything about:

How Often Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?

It all depends on your dog’s age. So let’s start at the beginning. 

When to Take Your Puppy to the Vet? [0–16 weeks]

You should take your puppy to the vet as soon as you bring it home. Firstly, your vet needs to check your pet for parasites and give the necessary vaccines. 

Puppies require a series of vaccinations every 3–4 weeks until they’re 16 weeks old. These first shots protect against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and corona (DHLPPC).

Your puppy will get the DHLPPC vaccine three or four times in 16 weeks. Also, it will receive the rabies vaccine between 12–24 weeks. 

Tick and flea treatments can also begin at 12–16 weeks. And you should treat heartworm before eight weeks. 

Very small puppy being checked with a stethoscope

When to Get a Vet Check up for Dogs? [6 months – 7 years]

By the time the last puppy vaccine comes around, you should start looking into spaying and neutering

After that, your dog should see the vet at least once a year for an annual wellness check, which involves booster vaccines, a full-body, and a dental exam. 

Adult dogs also get vaccines but not annually. The recommendations change, so it’s best to speak to your vet about that. 

Always feel free to discuss any concerns you may have. 

Senior Pet Check Up [7+ years]

Like younger pups, senior dogs need to see the vet more regularly for checkups. Age-related illness and injury can come suddenly, so vets recommend seeing your dog every six months. 

Pups don’t like showing us they’re unwell or in pain. So to get a diagnosis, your vet may need to perform blood tests or imaging.

Senior pups are likely to accumulate aches and pains as they get older, and your vet may suggest getting a supplement for joint pain.  

Tests are also a good option as you’ll have a baseline to compare if anything changes. Based on your dog’s health, your vet will recommend how often they need to see your fur baby. 

Old Jack Russel sleeping on a sofa

How Often Should I Take My Pregnant Dog to the Vet?

If you plan to breed your dog, make sure all the vaccines and treatments are up to date. Parasites can prevent the normal growth of puppies.

Dogs are only pregnant for about two months, and that moves pretty quickly. If you know your dog has mated, you should take it to see the vet after about four weeks for an ultrasound. 

There’s no specific time for a pregnant pet check up, but if that’s your first pregnant dog, you’ll want advice from someone who knows your dog’s history. Your vet will tell you when it’s best to come in.

They’ll give a dewormer (Fenbendazole) to the mom from about 40 days into the pregnancy up until two days after the puppies are born. It prevents parasites from passing on. 

Routine Vet Care for Dogs

It’s good to know what happens at regular vet checkups throughout your dog’s life.

New Puppy Vet Visit — What to Expect?

The vet will ask you questions about the puppy’s age, health, concerns, vaccines, toilet habits, and behavioral tendencies.

If you got your pup from a shelter, they should give you all this information during the adoption process. Also, you’ll get a vaccine book showing the history of your dog. Keep this in a safe place, and remember where you put it.

The vet will take your dog’s temperature, look at their eyes and ears, have a general feel around the body, and check for any tell-tale signs of early illness. 

What Happens at a Pet Annual Exam? 

Your vet will perform a general physical exam. They’ll check how your pup is walking, its general body condition, how the muscles are working, and the coat’s state. The vet will also look for signs of skin irritation, lumps, and bumps. 

The biggest part is checking if your dog is alert. Often the first sign that something’s wrong is lethargy. Like doctors do with us, a pet annual exam includes listening to your dog’s heart and breathing, too. 

The exam is an excellent opportunity to ask your vet any questions you might have. Don’t feel ashamed. Your vet has heard every question under the sun. For instance, if you want to ask about CBD oil for dogs or similar products, you’ll be joining the 48% of pet owners that have purchased CBD for their pet’s back and joint pain.

Close up of a dogs teeth

Questions to Ask Your Vet

Here are a few baseline questions you may want to ask the vet:

  • How often do puppies need shots?
  • What and when should I feed my dog?
  • How do I care for my pet’s teeth?
  • When should I spay/neuter my dog?
  • When should I take my dog to the vet?
  • Do you have any suggestions for house training?
  • Can my puppy be around other animals?
  • What exercise is recommended for a puppy?
  • When should I microchip my dog?
  • How often should I take my dog to the vet?

Average Vet Visit Costs 

Knowing how much your puppy costs now and in the future is a must. Nobody wants a hit of unexpected expenses. But as much as we plan, emergencies happen, and they’re expensive. So we highly recommend pet insurance for your animal. 

Let’s look at the dog check ups cost and other common expenses: 

Routine checkup: $40–$60

Initial vaccines: $75–$100 

Fecal test: $25–$50

Heartworm test: $50 

Basic teeth cleaning: $70–$300

Senior dog exam: $85–$100

Spay/neuter: $50–$200

Spot on tick/flea: $150–$200 a year

Puppy check ups: $100–$300

Please note that the prices vary based on location and the specific practice. These are just the average ones, so double-check with your vet. Also, put some money aside for everything else your puppy might need. There’s quite a bit of shopping at the beginning. 

When to Take Your Dog to the Emergency Vet

Hopefully, your pup will only need their regular check ups. But emergencies happen, and knowing when to get your dog help is vital. Here’s when to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible:

  • A hit by a car, brick, stone, or anything else
  • Vomiting or diarrhea persisting over 24 hours
  • Lethargy
  • Unconsciousness
  • Possibility of a broken body part
  • Seizure 
  • Ingestion of anything toxic
  • Pale gums
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Sudden onset paralysis.

Wrap Up

If you have a brand new puppy, go for the first visit as soon as possible. After the initial round of vaccines and spaying/neutering, your dog should go for a checkup once a year. 

If you have any specific concerns, take your dog in, especially in the event of an emergency. Senior dogs should go in twice a year or when the vet recommends it.

So, how often should I take my dog to the vet?  Generally, once a year but stay on the lookout. Go to the vet if you notice a change or something worries you. You better be safe than sorry.

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Emma is a lover of all animals. Her cat Pumpkin enjoys stretching out in the office while mom researches the best information on how to care for their fellow furry friends. Emma’s passion for animals started at a young age. Back then, she dedicated her time to shelters and vet clinics in South Africa. Her enthusiasm for writing and research is behind the most reliable information for pet lovers. She believes in treating animals with the devotion and respect they deserve.