Why and How Are Routine Checkups for Dogs Done? - Wagr Petcare

    Why and How Are Routine Checkups for Dogs Done?

    We’ve all had those days when our little furry pet showed signs of distress. But what if you don’t see those symptoms? Wouldn’t it be better to know about a problem today than a few days later when things could be worse?

    That’s where routine checkups help. Preventive healthcare measures are as important for pets as it is for us hoomans. Early detection can also mean less expensive treatments.

    So, how often should you take them to the vet for checkups?

    Start going for routine checkups right from the beginning. Since their immune system would not be fully developed, you might need to take them for vaccinations and checkups every 3-4 weeks till they turn 16 weeks old.

    Taking them to the vet early in life also helps them to develop a positive association with the vet and the clinic.
    Adult dogs

    Vets usually recommend annual checkups since they would have developed a good immune system by now. Again, during these visits, vaccines will be given to them.

    Senior dogs

    Checkups are recommended twice a year but it varies for each dog. Your vet will suggest the exact number of visits based on your dog’s health.

    What does a routine checkup for dogs include?

    • Your vet will enquire about your dog’s diet, exercise, bowel movements and urination, any abnormal behaviors, signs of imbalance in mobility (for older dogs), etc.

    • The dog’s temperature (normal range is 37 to 39°C) and weight.

    • Their heart rate (60-120 beats/minute), respiratory rate (10-25 breaths/minute), heart rhythm and heart murmurs. If needed, they might also check the pulse in their hind legs.

    • The lymph nodes in the head, neck, and hind legs are checked for swelling or pain.

    • The vet will check your dog’s legs to see whether the muscles, nerves, paws, and toenails are fine.

    • Gauging if the internal organs are normal.

    • Their skin will be inspected for hair loss, dryness, dandruff, oiliness, excessive shedding, lumps, and abnormal thickening.


    • The vet will also observe how your dog looks, walks, feels, and whether they are alert.

    • Their eyes are checked for hazy cornea, their brightness, inflammation, increased blood pressure, fungal infections, and the overall nervous system health.

    • Ear canals, which are the starting point for many infections, are checked for any discharge, ear mites, infections, or wax build up.

    • The vets also check their mouth for decayed teeth, infected gums, mouth ulcers, etc.

    • Rectal examination is usually performed on older dogs to check for abnormal growth.


    Watch this video to be better prepared for your dog’s next checkup


    Different types of tests for dogs

    Depending on the preliminary assessment, your vet might recommend some tests for better diagnosis. Here are some of those common tests.

    1. Fecal examination: Your dog’s feces will be checked for the presence of parasite eggs. For puppies, this test will be performed every month as they normally have many intestinal parasites. Before the checkup, ask your vet whether you need to carry a sample of their feces and/or urine and also if your dog needs to fast.

    2. Urinalysis: If your dog urinates frequently or drinks excessive water, a urine test might be performed to check for a urinary tract infection, kidney diseases, diabetes, or bladder stones.

    3. Thyroid testing: If your dog is older, has gained weight, or shows signs of thyroid abnormalities, your vet will suggest this test as hypothyroidism is harmful to their heart, kidneys, and eyes, and can also increase their blood pressure.

    4. Blood test: White blood cell count will determine their immunity and red blood cell count will determine their oxygen carrying capacity and any disorders. Blood tests also help to find out disorders in other organs. Generally, puppies get their first blood tests done during their first vet visit.

    5. Parasite check: For dogs older than 6 months, heartworm antigen test and other tests to detect tick-borne diseases might be conducted.

    6. Abdominal ultrasound: To check for diseases related to the spleen, gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, liver, kidneys, etc.

    7. Allergy testing: If you’ve observed your dog constantly licking, itching or having skin infections, your vet might conduct a test to check for allergies.

    8. Abdominal radiographs: This is usually recommended for senior dogs so that the vet can view the shape of your dog’s heart, lungs, kidney and liver.

    9. Skeletal radiographs: This is to check your dog’s bones and joints.

    10. Chest X-rays: To evaluate your dog’s lungs, airways, cardiac vessel size, etc.

    You can also follow these steps to conduct a dog checkup at home. But do note that this is not a replacement for your dog’s routine checkup at the vet!

    Along with getting your dog checked, use this time to clear your dog-related doubts and get those worries off your chest. It looks like a lot, but checkups usually take only a few minutes and are completely worth it!

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