Preventive Health Care Guidelines for Dogs

Bringing your dog in for annual routine exams allows our Lakewood vets to monitor your pet's health, check for early signs of health issues and to provide vaccinations and parasite treatments. Our Lakewood vets explain.

Why should I bring my pet to the vet if they seem healthy?

The goal of preventative care is to maintain your pet's health and to provide them with the care they need. In doing so, you give your pooch their best chance at a long, healthy and happy life. Preventative care begins with routine prevention exams, scheduled either once or twice per year depending on your dog's unique needs. 

These routine exams are physical checkups for your pet.

By bringing your dog in to see our vets, even when they appear to be perfectly healthy, you are giving our Red Rocks Animal Center team the opportunity to check in on and monitor your pet's health over time and diagnose and treat medical issues early and at their most treatable. It also allows us to provide preventative care like parasite treatments and vaccinations in order to keep your pup feeling their best.

Identifying health issues such as ear infections, gastrointestinal parasites or cancer before their obvious symptoms appear means that treatment can begin when it is most effective.

How often do I need to bring my pet in for preventive care?

Our veterinarians advise our clients to bring their dogs in for yearly routine wellness exams. However, every pup is different and has different needs. Because of this, the frequency you should bring your furry companion into our office will vary based on your dog's age, medical history and more.

Puppies can also be vulnerable to health conditions that adult dogs can resist with ease. This is true for senior or geriatric pups as well. You should bring your young or old dog in for a checkup much more frequently than you would an adult. For puppies under a year old, every month, and for geriatric dogs, twice a year.

What's involved in a routine wellness exam?

When you bring your dog into our Lakewood animal hospital, our team will walk through their medical history and inquire about any specific concerns you might have with their health.

In some cases, we will have already asked you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order to conduct a fecal exam. We will take this sample and examine it for signs of common intestinal parasites which may be otherwise difficult to detect.

After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:

  • Listening to your dog's heart and lungs
  • Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
  • Inspecting the dog's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
  • Looking at your dog's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
  • Looking at your dog's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
  • Checking your dog's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
  • Examining the condition of your dog's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
  • Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
  • Examining your dog's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
  • Feeling along your dog's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain

Each of these tests is intended to detect signs of health issues your dog may be experiencing. Because our canine companions aren't able to tell us when they are uncomfortable or in pain, this helps to check how your pet is generally feeling.

What about getting my pet their shots?

Vaccinations are designed to protect your dog against contagious, common and possibly even life-threatening diseases. The vaccines which we recommend for your dog will be based on where you live and what your pet's lifestyle is like.

There are core vaccines that we recommend for all dogs and there are "lifestyle vaccines" which are recommended for pets who are often in contact with other animals. To learn more about the vaccines we recommend for your pet, take a look at our vaccine schedules.

Your adult dog will require booster shots regularly in order to maintain their protection against diseases. In most instances, boosters are given to your pet annually, or, once every three years. Our vets will let you know when your dog's booster shots are due.

Does my pet really need parasite prevention?

Parasites are a health threat in the Lakewood area! Mosquitos and ticks carry dangerous parasites which can invade your pet's body and cause fatal conditions. Because of this, our vets will always recommend ways for you to prevent parasites from invading your pup. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their loving owners!

Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:

  • Heartworm
  • Fleas
  • Lyme Disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms 
  • Tapeworms
  • Whipworm
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Is preventive care expensive?

When compared to the cost of treating an advanced form of a condition, disease or disorder, routine preventative healthcare for your dog will save you money.

Not only that, but preventative veterinary care will also ensure that your dog experiences a minimum amount of pain or discomfort from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected in your pet, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.

What are Pet Wellness Plans?

Pet Wellness Plans bundle all the preventive services your dog needs to stay healthy, including annual checkups, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and more. They offer you a discounted rate on all of these to help you stay on budget and we spread the cost out over the course of a year to help make your dog's regular veterinary care as affordable as possible.

You receive the benefit of saving money and your pooch gets the benefit of routine preventative care. It's a win-win for you both!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you ready to book your pet's next routine wellness exam? Contact Red Rocks Animal Center today in order to provide your pet with the preventative services they need to live a long, healthy and happy life.