I get asked A LOT of questions about dogs particularly after someone new learns I am a dog trainer. Often enough people ask me the same ones and truth be told I'm always happy to talk about my favourite topic. I've decided to share some of these FAQ's with my blog readers for your information.
Here's the first one: Why and how often should I take my puppy to the vet when he seems healthy?
Most Veterinarians recommend a yearly check up for all healthy pets just like humans are suppose to see their doctors once per year. Regular check ups are incredibly important for pets because they age much faster than humans and because they don't have a voice to tell you when something is wrong.
When adopting a new pet you should have a vet check preformed whether the dog is old, young, healthy or otherwise. This will give your vet an idea about what your pet's age, general body condition, weight, body temperature and other important information is when your pet is healthy. This can act as a guide to how sick your pet is when something is wrong. It also helps familiarize your pet with the vet clinic and vet him/herself when your pet feels good. This makes treating your pet when he/she is sick much easier.
Another sign for a "healthy" dog to visit the vet is a change in behaviour that is not easy to explain. This includes: accidents in the house, more frequent urination, anxiety, aggression, lethargy and loss of appetite. Many of the cases of aggression I see also include a health issue. This should make you think twice before implementing a punishment for behaviour you see as "naughty" when your dog might actually be feeling under the weather. A full vet check up including bloodwork is a must.
Your Veterinarian is a great resource and it's important you find someone that you like and trust. Personally I see 4 different vets with my dogs depending on the issue. Ask your friends and family to see who they use. Ask questions like how long have you been seeing your vet, do you like him/her, have they offered you practical advice that works? Luckily Calgary has many vets to choose from so take your time to research and find someone that is kind to you and your dog.