This checklist is a resource you can refer to, to ensure that your animal is well taken care of:
PUPPIES: BIRTH-6 MONTHS: As a puppy, your dog will be visiting the vet for check-ups every three to four weeks until they’re 16 weeks old. They will receive distemper-parvo and rabies, and might also receive a vaccination for kennel cough. They will also start on heartworm and flea/tick medication. The vet will examine your pup to make sure they’re growing well, and that they’re otherwise healthy. You’ll make another vet visit at six months to have your dog spayed or neutered.
KITTENS: BIRTH TO 6 MONTHS: Kittens need to visit a vet for check-ups and vaccines every 3-4 weeks until they reach 16 weeks of age. They will receive vaccines that offer protection for an array of diseases, complete testing for feline leukemia, feline immonodeficiency virus, as well as prevention for fleas, ticks, and heartworms.
BY 6 MONTHS OF AGE, ALL KITTENS AND PUPPIES SHOULD HAVE AN APPOINTMENT SCHEDULED FOR ALTERATION. SPAY AND NEUTERING YOUR PET IS NOT ONLY VITAL TO CONTROLLING THE ANIMAL POPULATION BUT ALSO PREVENTS CANCER.
Adult: 1 to 7-10 Years (Depending on Type of Pet and Breed): During this stage, vets recommend yearly checkups. The doc will give your pet a head-to-tail physical. She'll also take a blood sample from your dog to check for heartworms. (Cats normally don’t get tested because the results are hard to interpret.) The vet may recommend other tests based on any problems your pet has or anything unusual she sees during the exam. Distemper-parvo and rabies booster shots happen during the first yearly checkup, then usually every 3 years after that. How often animals get rabies boosters depends on state law. Your dog may get other vaccines to prevent illnesses like kennel cough, and outdoor cats should get feline leukemia vaccines. It's helpful to bring in a stool sample from your pet, which your vet will check for intestinal parasites.
Seniors (7-10 years of age and older): Vets suggest twice-yearly checkups for older pets. Your cat or dog will get vaccinations when needed and will get a thorough physical exam, along with tests to follow up on any problems. Blood and urine tests can give your vet the scoop on your pet's kidney and liver health, thyroid hormone levels, and more. Mention any changes you've seen in your pet -- if, for example, your cat is drinking more water or your dog is no longer excited by his daily walks. These can be signs of a new problem such as kidney disease or arthritis.