Articles, Veterinarians

How Often Should I Take My Pet To The Vet

Written By: Theia Angeles
Reviewed by: Mike Reyes
Last Updated February 16, 2023

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Baby Labrador Retriever Puppy going to the vet

You may wonder, how often should I take my pets to the vet? Both young cats and dogs require regular examinations to stay healthy. Ideally, you should take your kitten to the vet once every four weeks for the first sixteen weeks of their life. On the other hand, you should take your puppy to the vet every three weeks, from six to sixteen weeks.

Kittens’ Health

three brown tabby kitten lying on board

The first vet appointment should be when your kitten is about eight weeks old. Kittens require many vaccines throughout their first year to protect them from common infectious diseases. 

Kittens should receive the Feline Leukemia vaccine as well as the FVRCP vaccine, which protects your feline friend from three extremely contagious and potentially fatal feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).

Veterinarians recommend having your kitten spayed or neutered between 5 and 6 months to avoid various diseases, unpleasant behaviors, and unwanted litters.

Puppies’ Health

Dogs also require several booster shots for them to remain healthy. The Distemper combination vaccine is administered every 3 to 4 weeks until the puppy is four months old. The final one is the most critical booster. 

This final immunization provides your puppy with protective immunity. It protects against various infections, including distemper, parvovirus, and leptospirosis. These infectious viruses or bacteria can affect multiple organ systems in your dog’s health and, in some situations, result in death.

Canine influenza vaccination is a requirement for dogs that will board, attend puppy training classes, compete in dog shows, or visit grooming facilities or dog parks. Your dog should receive this vaccine at 6 to 8 weeks and repeated 2-3 weeks later.

Bordetella (Kennel Cough vaccine) is a requirement for dogs in the same categories as those that need the Canine Influenza vaccine. Bordetella is a highly contagious respiratory disease.

Dogs should also get the Lyme disease vaccination between 9 and 12 weeks, repeated for three weeks. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the deer tick. This tick is very common in central Pennsylvania.

Also, Rabies vaccination is necessary by law, and your puppy must get it when it is at least three months old. Based on the veterinarian’s appraisal of your puppy’s exposure to the diseases these vaccines protect against, you will receive an individual immunization schedule for your puppy. 

Adult Pets

adult dogs and cats

A checkup for your adult pets should occur as frequently as possible. Dental cleanings, physical examinations, and immunizations are typically present in the scope of a checkup. Apart from that, adult pets also need some vaccinations. 

Adult Cat and Dog Vet Visits (1 to 7 years)

Adult Cat Vet Visits

You should take your adult cats for a yearly checkup for a thorough medical examination, parasite testing of stool samples, and immunization updates. Your veterinarian will advise you on recommended vaccines based on your pet’s lifestyle.

Please bring a list of questions for your veterinarian and the names and dosages of any medications or nutritional supplements you are providing your cat. Don’t forget to write down the name of your cat’s food. This information will assist the veterinarian in better understanding your pet’s health.

All adult cats must have yearly wellness bloodwork conducted at their annual health appointment. This supplies you with a plethora of information about your pet’s health. Early disease detection allows you to address, rectify, or control health issues before they become serious.

During the annual vet visits, they will weigh your cat and assess its overall health. They will give nutritional and exercise advice if your cat is overweight and recommendations for cat food. This is because obesity will impair your pet’s mobility and quality of life as they age.

They will also examine your pet’s mouth for plaque, tartar, gingivitis, and crown pathology symptoms. Periodontal disease affects 85% of cats over the age of six! Depending on the findings, your veterinarian may prescribe a future professional dental cleaning and examination under anesthesia.

If your cat goes outside, the vet may prescribe heartworm, flea, and tick protection all year. If your cat takes long-term medication for a certain condition, your veterinarian may recommend more frequent visits and bloodwork.

Adult Dog Vet Visits

You should still take your adult dog to the vet between the ages of one and seven years. If you have healthy adult dogs, once a year may be sufficient. Again, your dog’s breed or underlying health conditions may demand more visits, so consult your doctor to determine the best action.

Your adult dogs typically will still require rabies and DHPP vaccine booster doses every 1-3 years. Depending on where you live. Adult dogs residing in places where Lyme disease is frequent may also benefit from that vaccine.

Checkups also allow veterinarians to examine your dog’s teeth. Infections and germs in dogs’ teeth can spread to other organs, such as the liver or kidneys, so keeping them in good condition is critical. 

Bad breath is also a result of dirty teeth, which stink. Your veterinarian can advise you on how to stop it. During your appointments, your veterinarian can also propose any dietary adjustments required if your dog is overweight and do blood tests to rule out potential concerns.

Senior Pets

photo of man hugging tan dog

Better care means that senior dogs and cats are living longer lives than ever before—and as pets age, they require more care and attention.

It is critical to remember that aging is not an illness. Although senior pets may suffer age-related issues, you may assist them in living a happy, healthy, and active life by meeting their physical, mental, and healthcare needs.

Regular veterinary checks can discover problems in elderly pets before they become severe or life-threatening, allowing them to have a longer, healthier life. 

Here are some general guidelines for caring for senior pets:

Increased Veterinary Care

A senior dog or cat should see a veterinarian twice yearly to detect and treat signs of disease or other problems before they become major. Senior pet exams are more thorough as compared to those for younger pets. Dental care, bloodwork, and particular examinations for indicators of age-related disorders may be available in these exams.

Diet and Nutrition

Senior pets frequently require diets that are easier to digest, have various energy levels and ingredients, and contain anti-aging elements. Senior cat food, for example, may contain taurine to help with aging cats’ eye and heart conditions.

Weight Control 

Weight increases the risk of health problems in older dogs, whereas weight reduction is more of a concern in senior cats.

Parasite Control

The immune systems of senior pets aren’t as powerful as younger pets. As a result, senior pets may be less able to fight parasites or heal as quickly.


Because senior pets have a lower immune system, they may require different vaccinations than younger pets.

Maintaining Mobility 

As pets age, they may become less active. Keeping senior pets active with adequate exercise allows them to remain healthier and mobile.

Mental Health

Senior pets may exhibit indicators of senility or cognitive problems. Interactions can assist in keeping pets intellectually busy by stimulating them.


Senior pets may require lifestyle changes such as new sleeping spaces to avoid stairs, more time indoors, and so on.

Reproductive Diseases

Non-neutered or non-spayed senior pets are more likely to develop breast, testicular, and prostate cancers and other reproductive system-related conditions. Your veterinarian can assist you with all these concerns and make recommendations specific to your pet.

Routine Wellness Exams – Checkups for Cats and Dogs

white and black short coated dog wearing white and black polka dot shirt

Routine wellness exams are necessary for both cats and dogs.

Checkups for Cats

Taking your cat to the vet for a normal exam is very important. The frequency of your cat’s lifestyle, overall health, and age. It is advisable to have annual wellness exam screenings for healthy adult cats. However, examining kittens and seniors should be more frequent.

During your adult cat’s routine exam, your veterinarian will perform a head-to-tail examination to look for early disease symptoms or other problems, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.

For senior cats, blood samples and urine tests are two diagnostic tests recommended to look for early indicators of diseases like renal disease or diabetes.

As age-related concerns such as joint pain grow more widespread, preventative care for senior cats includes a more proactive approach to keeping your feline companion comfortable. If you have an elderly cat, ask your veterinarian how frequently you should take it for a routine exam.

Checkups for Dogs

How frequently should my dog undergo a wellness exam? The answer depends on your dog’s age and current health status. Early puppyhood wellness tests are necessary every month. In contrast, annual wellness exams are the standard for ordinary adult dogs, and semi-annual examinations are ideal for middle-aged, senior, and geriatric dogs.

However, your veterinarian is the best person to advise you on how frequently your dog should get a wellness examination based on its breed, health, and lifestyle.

What Will My Veterinarian Look for During a Wellness Exam?

Your veterinarian will ask questions about your dog’s diet, exercise, thirst, breathing, behavior, habits, excretion patterns (i.e., bowel motions and urination), lifestyle, and general health during a routine wellness examination. They will also examine your dog physically. 

Your veterinarian will then recommend specific preventive medicine treatments based on your pet’s history and physical examination, such as vaccination, parasite control, nutrition, skin and coat care, joint health, weight management, or dental care. 

Furthermore, your veterinarian will examine your dog’s unique circumstances and determine whether additional life-stage or lifestyle recommendations are necessary. A physical examination consists of assessing your dog’s overall look, listening to its chest using a stethoscope (auscultation), and feeling specific body sections (palpation).

How Much Do Vet Visits Cost?

You want to provide the greatest care for your pet as a pet parent. In addition to satisfying your pet’s basic needs, such as providing food, water, and a secure environment, it’s critical to maintain your pet healthy with frequent veterinarian visits.

A typical vet appointment costs around $61. Other vet bills, however, can quickly pile up if your pet requires additional health care, such as medical treatment and medicines. Pet insurance can be an excellent strategy to help offset the costs of veterinary visits.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

pet insurance costs

Pet dog insurance goes from approximately $20 to $44 per month. For cats, you will discover a price range of around $12 to $46 per month. On the other hand, Pet insurance costs around $35 per month for dogs and approximately $28 per month for cats for a year’s coverage of around $5,000.

By altering the levels of coverage within the plan, you can discover a pet insurance policy that matches practically any budget. Understand that pet insurance prices often grow every year at renewal time as your pet ages.

The cost of pet insurance varies depending on several criteria, including the type of coverage, the quantity of coverage, and the breed and age of the pet.

What Should You Do if You’ve Never Taken Your Pet to a Vet?

The process is similar whether you’re taking your kitten to the vet or an older dog you adopted from a shelter

Here’s what to expect during a veterinary appointment. You’ll register your pet and wait in the waiting room. When you enter the examination room, your veterinarian will do a physical exam, which may include the following:

  • Measuring your pet’s weight
  • Checking for redness in the whites of the eyes
  • Examination of the nose for discharge
  • Teeth examination
  • Using an otoscope to examine the ears
  • Examining the lymph nodes and throat
  • Taking the temperature of your pet
  • Evaluating the body’s state
  • Palpating the abdomen to look for belly structures such as kidneys, abdominal tumors, or pain
  • Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs
  • Taking your pet’s pulse

If this is your first visit to the doctor with your pet, you will normally discuss your pet’s previous medical history and any questions or concerns you may have about caring for your new friend. Furthermore, your veterinarian may address issues like flea, tick, and heartworm medication suggestions, optimum feeding practices, and information about neutering or spaying.

What About Grooming?

Grooming your pet regularly is crucial for their health, well-being, and beauty. Your pet’s coat can become lengthy, matted, and uncomfortable if left unattended. Grooming removes shed hair and dead skin from the coat while dispersing natural oils. 

Clipping maintains a comfortable coat length that corresponds to the seasons and ensures your pet’s comfort. You must incorporate grooming into your pet’s routine care.

Why Should I Brush My Pet?

You should remove your pet’s dead coat hair regularly. If you don’t do this regularly, your pet may begin licking its coat to eliminate dead hair.

However, overgrooming can result in hairless patches, a severe and unpleasant itch that causes pets to bite, chew, and lick themselves excessively. Also, not brushing your pet regularly results in matting the coat and is very unpleasant for any pet.

Most dogs enjoy having their coats brushed. It can be one of the most satisfying moments of your closest friend’s friendship.

When Should You Begin Grooming?

Begin grooming your pet when it is a puppy. Choose periods when it looks exhausted and drained. Keep grooming sessions for a few minutes. Also, reassure it by checking its ears, teeth, paws, and nails. 

Your pet will grow accustomed to the grooming procedure and appreciate your handling and examination over time. As a reward, please provide them with a pleasant gift. Then, depending on the breed and your abilities, you should consider professional pet grooming visits.

Final Thoughts

When you obtain a pet, it is your job to care for it for the rest of its life. Taking a pet to the animal hospital or veterinary clinic for health care is one of the responsibilities of every pet owner. You now have all the important information concerning your pet’s visit to the vet. What are you waiting for? Take that responsible step today for the good of your pet!

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