Vet Tips: What to expect at your adult dog’s veterinary exams

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Here’s what you can expect from your dog’s veterinary exams when she is an adult. Stay tuned for a guide to your senior dog’s vet visits, or check out our guide to what to expect from your puppy’s vet trips.

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Meet Suki, an Australian Cattle Dog,
at Bonaparte’s Retreat in Nashville.

Adult-dog exams
(ages 18 months to 7 years):

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that adult dogs see the vet at least once a year for regular exams, whether they need vaccinations or not. These exams help your vet keep a record of your dog’s normal health and behavior, and catch signs of illness as early as possible.

“In an adult-dog wellness exam, the emphasis is usually on preventive care, and catching health issues such as obesity and dental disease early, before they become a problem,” says veterinarian and Pawcurious blogger Dr. V.

“Obesity is a very common example,” she continues. “If you get an overweight pet back down to a healthy weight before degenerative joint problems set in, they will have a longer and healthier life. Although it is uncommon, young adults can unfortunately still be afflicted with dangerous diseases like cancer, kidney disease or heart disease, and we like to catch those as early as possible with routine examinations.”

Basic adult exams usually include:

  • A full physical examination
  • Stool check for parasites
  • Mouth check for periodontal disease
  • Vaccinations
  • Possible heartworm test and preventative

Questions to ask the vet:

  • Is my dog the right weight?
  • Are there any side effects of the vaccinations or heartworm preventative?
  • What at-home dental care do you recommend for my pet?
  • What vaccines do you recommend for my dog?
  • When should my dog come back for her next exam?

Learn more about the developmental stages of your dog’s life.

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More Vet Tips entries:

What to expect at your puppy’s veterinary exams

Five ways to keep your cat calm at the vet

10 easy steps to get your cat to like — yes like — his cat carrier

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