Even though have been keeping an eye on the health of your dog, it is a good idea to have an appointment at least once a year with the vet so they can carry out a thorough check-up. The vet is going to spot health problems and treat them before they become serious. If the worst happens, a vet can also advise you on how to best go about looking for a pet cremation service, or how to handle you loss.
General dog health
There is a good chance you take your canine friend to the vet from time to time because they are injured or sick, but you need to keep in mind that most of the times the vet is going to focus on that specific problem. Check-ups focus on holistic health, and the vet is going to see if there any changes to the physical health of your dog.
You need to have a vet check on the dog at least once per year, although the visits need to be more frequent as the dog ages or when they have special medical needs. Prevention is better than cure, which is why these visits are important. You should not hold off on the appointments just because the dog looks healthy. The vet is going to do a couple of things, which will include running their hands on the dog to see any unusual signs, listening to their heart and lungs, checking ear problems, skin/coat, and scanning their microchip to make sure it works well.
This is very important, and compulsory in the UK as of 2016. It is a good idea to get this when the dog is a puppy, this is before you have taken them out from walks. It is never too late to do this. This procedure is not painful, and you will have peace of mind knowing that in the event of your dog wandering, you can get them back from the person who finds them.
The vet is going to be sending you reminders when the vaccinations are due. They will be ready to give you a vaccination schedule for your puppy. The timing will depend on the vaccination, but can include; leptospirosis, distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, as well as Bordetella (kennel cough) and parainfluenza. If you plan on travelling with your dog outside the country, then it is a must to get a rabies vaccination because it is needed in the ‘Pet Passport’ scheme. You should read more about travelling with a dog so you can know what is required.
Fleas, ticks, and worms
Fleas, ticks, and worms are also one of those things where prevention is better than cure. You should always keep in mind that fleas, or even the larvae, can be in your home and garden all year round, and ticks are known for transmitting nasty diseases. The vet is going to give you advice on the prevention of fleas and ticks, and how you can avoid round and tapeworms, and if need be, lungworms. You can read more about fleas and other parasites by looking at the information you can find online.
Behaviour prevention and treatment
You need to be using the annual check-up as a chance of discussing any unsociable or unusual behaviour of your dog like biting, excessive barking, chewing of shoes whenever you turn your back. When caught in the early stages, they can be easily managed. The vet can give you a couple of tips you can use to deal with the problem or even refer you to a trained and experienced behaviourist. The vet can also give you recommendations on puppy training classes in the area if the dog is still a puppy.