When you bring a dog into your life and make them a part of your family, they can quickly become just like another human in your household. And just like humans are supposed to get annual exams from doctors, dogs, too, are supposed to get annual exams from their veterinarians.
While this is the recommendation for dogs, many pet owners, even the most well-meaning of them, skip these annual exams and only take their dog to the vet when the dog needs a legally required vaccine or has a major health issue.
Get to know some of the reasons that you should not follow suit with these dog owners and why you should never skip your dog's annual exams. Then, you can be sure that you are doing what is best for your four-legged family member.
A Year for Your Dog Is Like Several for You
If you have ever heard someone speak of events or the like in terms of dog years, then you may know that a dog year is a significantly shorter period of time than a standard human year. The general consensus is that a human year is the equivalent of about five to seven years for a dog.
As such, if you do not take your dog in for an annual examination with the vet, it would be similar to you not going to the doctor for 10 years or more. You can imagine all of the changes to your health that could happen over the course of 10 years, and the same is true for your dog. It is important that you give your dog access to regular veterinary care to keep them alive and healthy as long as possible.
Regular Veterinary Exams Can Detect Health Issues Early
One of the main differences between having a human child and one of the canine variety is that a canine one is not able to tell you if they do not feel well or they are in pain. As such, if something is just a little bit off with your dog's health, you will have no way of knowing.
However, if you take your dog to the vet for an annual exam, the veterinarian may be able to detect an issue when it is still relatively minor. For example, when the veterinarian checks your dog's breathing and heart rate, they could detect a respiratory or cardiovascular issue that can be treated with medications.
Additionally, the physical examination that the veterinarian performs can detect any odd lumps (e.g. cysts or tumors) or can find any joints that are not functioning properly. This can ensure that your dog gets the treatment they need as soon as possible and before the condition causing these issues becomes more serious.
An Annual Exam Can Detect Weight Problems You May Not Notice
When you spend every day with your dog, it can be difficult to determine whether or not their weight has been fluctuating or changing throughout the year. An annual exam by the veterinarian includes a weight check for your dog and can help you and the vet to detect any problematic patterns.
If your dog is continually gaining weight, for example, you may need to put your dog on a diet, but if they have been losing weight needlessly, there could be an issue that you are not aware of. Unintentional weight loss in a dog could be a sign of a digestive system problem like a partial blockage or could even be a sign of cancer or other serious illness.
Given all of these reasons that you can and should take your dog to the veterinarian every year for their annual examination, you can be sure that you get that appointment scheduled as soon as possible.