Rory the Vet's Dog Tips / How often should you take your dog to the vet
Pet Care

How often should you take your dog to the vet

How Often Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet with Rory the Vet |
How Often Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet with Rory the Vet |

We asked pet expert Rory the Vet for his advice.


Taking your canine companion to the vet is an essential part of being a pet parent. It helps set them up to have the best life possible. And I don’t just mean when there’s a problem. It’s important to visit your vet at least once a year to have a check-up. (This needs to be more frequent for dogs who are senior or have certain medical needs.) That way your veterinarian can help prevent any potential health risks from happening in their future. Here, I’ll take your through the many reasons for taking your dog to the vet – and importantly, how to help your dog embrace these visits rather than fear them. To the vet we go!


MEET RORY THE VET

We’ve partnered up with animal whisperer and renowned veterinarian, Dr Rory Cowlam, to share his wisdom when it comes to all things furry. And boy, does this man know his stuff.
Starting with his degree from the Royal Veterinary College, Rory has since co-starred in the CBBC’s series The Pet Factor, shared his knowledge on the likes of Blue Peter and written all about it in his book, Secret Life of a Vet.

Follow him on Instagram

Picture of Rory the Vet

MEET RORY THE VET

We’ve partnered up with animal whisperer and renowned veterinarian, Dr Rory Cowlam, to share his wisdom when it comes to all things furry. And boy, does this man know his stuff.
Starting with his degree from the Royal Veterinary College, Rory has since co-starred in the CBBC’s series The Pet Factor, shared his knowledge on the likes of Blue Peter and written all about it in his book, Secret Life of a Vet..

Follow him on Instagram



The importance of regular veterinary care

Regular veterinary care helps you to pick up on any signs of a developing illness – and an early diagnosis often means a better prognosis. We can all identify if something is off with our furry friends, but a veterinarian has the expertise, equipment and knowledge to do a thorough health check you wouldn’t be able to do yourself at home. It’s also helpful to get your dog weighed consistently in order to maintain a healthy weight.


Another reason why it’s worthwhile visiting your vet’s annually is because it makes the situation less stressful for your dog when it becomes a routine. If an appointment only happens when they are hurt or sick, they then might associate going as a negative experience. I recommended encouraging a friendly relationship between your furry friend and your vet, including the receptionist there. It’s also useful to give your dog treats and plenty of praise during the visit.


When you should visit a vet

So, when exactly should we be booking these appointments? There are various needs or points in your dog’s life that would require a visit to the vet. The below are the most common.


Rory the Vet looking at the camera
Rory the Vet looking at the camera

Annual check-ups

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to get an annual overall health assessment. During these visits, your veterinarian will do a head-to-toe examination, including a flea, tick and worm check. TheyHe/she will usually discuss preventative parasite treatment, weigh your dog, go over their diet with you, and give them booster vaccinations. You can also use this time to voice any concerns or ask any questions that you may have.


Getting your puppy vaccinated

Your vet will have discussed with you already the vaccinations your pup will need when you take them to their first vet consultation, having asked first for any details about their previous vaccinations the rescue centre or breeder gave you. They will then discuss with you a date to get them done.


It’s very important you take your puppy to the vet to be vaccinated. Your vet will usually vaccinate against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis and kennel cough.


A puppy looking at the camera
A puppy looking at the camera

Microchipping

It’s a legal requirement in the UK to get your dog microchipped. Having the procedure done will greatly improve the chances of being reunited with your dog if the worst happens.


Usually, you would get it done when your dog is a puppy, but it’s never too late to arrange an appointment, so don’t worry if you’ve adopted an older dog and still book that appointment.


For further information, see here.


Getting your dog neutered

First and foremost, you need to decide for yourself whether you want your dog to be neutered (if they haven’t been already). Engage in a conversation with your vet about what would be the right decision for you and your pet. They will be able to give you all the information you need about the process and the aftercare and can answer any questions that you may have. You can find details about the benefits of neutering here.


Dental check-ups

Dog dental health is identified as one of the biggest welfare concerns for veterinarians in the UK. It’s essential your dog gets routine dental checks. I recommend taking your pooch for a check-up at least once a year. If you’re concerned that there may already be a problem with their teeth, seek an appointment as soon as possible.


For tips on how to care for their teeth in the meantime, including how to spot the common signs of gum disease, you can read more in my dental care guide.


A dog looking at the camera
A dog looking at the camera

Advice or concerns about your dog’s diet

During your annual check-up, always take the opportunity to weigh your dog to ensure that they are at a healthy weight. Your vet will be able to assess if your dog is over or underweight and advise you on a diet and exercise plan that suits them if they are.


For further guidance on what to feed your dog, see here.


Care for senior dogs

A senior dog is considered to be 8 years+. Similarly to us humans, as they age, dogs need more frequent health check-ups. I suggest monitoring your senior dog’s food and water intake and sharing that information with your vet, along with their activity levels and behaviours. Your veterinarian might take a blood or urine sample if there are any concerns.


As for their diet, your vet can provide guidance should you need it. Lily’s Kitchen have a menu of tasty senior recipes that are tailored especially for wise woofers.


A dog sitting in the grass
A dog looking at the camera

If your dog is pregnant

If your pooch is expecting, I advise regular check-ups and discussions with your vet on what you can expect at the birth as well as any signs that indicate a reason to be concerned. When it comes to food and nutrition, the usual adult formula won’t provide the extra nutrients pregnant dogs need, which is why it is usually recommended that dogs are transitioned onto puppy formula before getting pregnant and staying on this formula until they have given birth and her puppies have been weaned. That said, always discuss any changes to your dog’s diet with your vet beforehand.


Warning signs that your dog needs to see a vet

Recognising the warning signs that suggest your pooch might be unwell is essential for timely intervention. Pets often are great at hiding any pain or discomfort, so look out for subtle indications and always consult your vet. Contacting them over the phone and discussing the concern with them directly can help your vet practice determine how urgent the issue is and whether an in-person appointment is required.


Some of these warning signs include:


- Vomiting/ diarrhoea


- If you suspect your dog has eaten toxic or unsafe food


- Lumps or growths


- Vomiting/ diarrhoea


For a full list of symptoms to look out for, see here.


Top