Your dog is a significant part of your life, so keeping their health in check is essential.
You need to take care of them for their entire life as long as you own them, and part of doing so is to ensure they get a wellness check. However, the question remains how often you need to do so.
What is a Wellness Check?
A wellness check is the routine medical examination of your dog, whether they are healthy or have a health condition. The checkup focuses on wellness to help catch potential health problems or maintain optimum health.
What Veterinarians Check For
Your veterinarian will observe your dog's general appearance, feel some areas of their body, and use a stethoscope to listen to their chest. They will inspect:
- The teeth and mouth to check their oral health and condition.
- How the dog stands and walks.
- If your dog is alert and bright.
- The face and nose to check for discharges, symmetry, skin folds, and other issues.
- General condition of the body to check if the dog is at a healthy weight.
- The ears to check for hair loss, thickening, or discharges.
- Muscle condition to check if the muscles are wasting away.
- The eyes to check for discharge, redness, and other abnormalities such as bumps on the eyelids.
- The skin for abnormalities such as dryness, excessive oiliness, and bumps or thickening.
- The hair coat to check for excessive shedding, dandruff, hair loss, excessive oiliness, or dryness.
You may not know that your dog is suffering from a disease. The survival instinct for dogs is to hide the signs of the illness during the early stages of a disease. Hence, the ailment may have advanced to a severe stage when you start noticing changes.
Your veterinarian may detect early warning signs when they physically examine your pet. They can also note subtle changes that suggest the dog has underlying health problems. As a result, they may recommend additional tests.
The tests can include urine, fecal, blood, or parasite tests. Your vet can also order an X-ray, depending on the results during the physical examination. The tests help identify internal health problems that could have gone undetected. They can detect conditions like thyroid disease, heartworms, diabetes, and liver and kidney problems.
How Long Does the Wellness Check Take?
You can schedule 30 minutes of your time to take your dog for a wellness checkup. The specialist will begin by asking you questions about your dog's history and diet. They will also allow you to ask them questions you may have about your dog's well-being. Typically, the average time it will take for the whole session is about half an hour.
How Often to Take Your Dog for a Wellness Check
The answer to the frequency of taking your dog for a wellness check depends on their current health status and their age. Your veterinarian will recommend wellness checkups every month for puppies. But for the average dog, pet owners should make it a norm to take their dogs for annual wellness examinations. Semiannual examinations are ideal for geriatric, senior, and middle-aged dogs.
For more about getting your dog a wellness check, visit Goose Creek Veterinary Hospital at our office in Ashburn, VA. You can call (571) 291-9110 to book an appointment today.