When Is It Time to Visit The Vet?

Visiting the vet can be an anxiety-filled experience for both you and your pet, should he get sick. IF you’re fearful that your dog or cat might be sick or injured, have a new pet, or are just wondering about proper check up schedule, here’s a quick guide on determining when you should visit vet.

Apparent Sickness or Injury

If your dog or cat is suddenly vomiting, or if he took a spill down some stairs during the night, should you visit an emergency veterinarian room? Whenever in doubt, you should at the very least call your personal vet or a veterinarian hospital, which provides 24-hour access to emergency pet care. There are also definite emergencies that you should be aware of which will require immediate care. These include:

  • Any type of intense trauma such as being hit by a car
  • Being bit by another dog or wild animal
  • Vomiting blood or extended bouts of diarrhea
  • Unconsciousness or seizuring
  • Ingesting toxic fluids like household cleaners or anti-freeze
  • Disoriented and/or dizzy and running into objects
  • Bloated stomach

If you’re unsure where to take your pet in the case of an emergency, use the AAHA hospital locator tool to locate an accredited hospital near you.

New Pet Owners: When’s The First Trip to the Vet?

Puppies: Getting your puppy off on the right foot can be tough for a new dog owner, but his first trip to the vet is an important step in raising a puppy into a healthy dog. You should normally bring your puppy to the vet for the first time between 8 to 10 weeks of age. A full-body exam will be conducted to determine overall health and vaccines are administered. These could include vaccines for rabies, distemper, parainfluenza, bordetella and more.

Kittens: Making sure your newest feline friend starts out his life healthy, his first trip to the vet should be at 6-8 weeks. On your first visit, the veterinarian will give your kitten a general examination to make sure s/he is healthy. The doctor will check his/her teeth, ears, eyes, and listen to the heart and lungs. Your kitten will be given initial vaccinations and also be put on a deworming program at the time of the first visit. This is important to protect your pet against internal parasites.

With a new pet comes new responsibilities – which you may need some help with. Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM, advises: “Your veterinarian will give you advice about diet, grooming, dental care, training, common behavioral issues, pet-proofing your home, and how to plan for the unexpected with pet insurance. Your vet will become your #1 source of pet advice. It’s a good idea to establish a good relationship with your vet.

Taking your new kitten to the veterinarian is a great way get started on the right track. Your veterinarian will make sure your new kitten is healthy, free of parasites, appropriately vaccinated, on the right preventatives, spayed or neutered, and microchipped. Your vet will partner with you to insure your new kitten has a long and healthy life.”

Proper Veterinary Check Up Schedules

Regular visits to the vet are imperative in keeping up the well-being of your cat or dog. To keep your pet’s tail wagging, follow these guidelines for scheduling check ups.

For puppies and kittens up to year old, you should be visiting the vet every three to four weeks until he’s 16 weeks old. At six months, another check up will be conducted to ensure good health and proper socialization.

Growing dogs and cats, from one year old to approximately 10 years old, the rule-of-thumb is to visit the vet at least once a year for a physical checkup. Your pet may need vaccinations at about three-year increments, but consult your vet for proper timing of booster injections.

Once your pet hits senior age, after 10 years old, vets suggest twice-yearly checkups. Your pet’s health should be monitored more closely during this stage of life, and any odd behavior should be reported to your veterinarian.

56 comments on “When Is It Time to Visit The Vet?

  1. Benito on

    Howdy! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will
    have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Derek Mcdoogle on

    In your article, you stated that for puppies and kittens up to year old, you should be visiting the vet every three to four weeks until he’s 16 weeks old and at six months, another check-up will be conducted to ensure good health and proper socialization. My wife brought home a puppy last week for my birthday and someone suggested that we take him to the vet. I wonder if a number of shots they need depend on the type of breed they are.

    Reply
  3. John on

    I think it’s really important for people to be aware of the signs their pet exhibits so as to determine whether or not they need to take it to the vet. The article mentions that if you’re in doubt about whether or not your pet may need attention, it’s best to at least call a vet clinic. I think it would be smart to have a veterinarian picked out in advance so that you can get ahold of him/her quicker in case of emergency.

    Reply
  4. Chris Winters on

    I can see why you would want to take your dog to the vet at least once a year. My dog has been acting very sick these past couple of weeks. I think that I should take him to the vet to make sure that he can get back to running and playing again.

    Reply
  5. Leviticus Bennett on

    I just bought my niece a dog for her birthday. We’re really not sure how to best take care of a dog since we’ve never had one. I like that you mentioned that a vet will become my #1 source of pet advice. Maybe today I can find a vet for us to visit.

    Reply
  6. Jane Ambrose on

    My husband and I are going to surprise our kids with a new puppy soon, so before we get it, I want to know everything I can about taking care of it and getting it into the vet. Before reading this, I didn’t know that the puppy should be taken in to see a vet between the first 8-10 weeks of its life. It seems like getting all the right vaccinations is really important to a dog’s health. I’ll be sure to remember these things for when it’s time to find the dog a vet. Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Roger Middleton on

    I liked that you had mentioned that it can be very important to visit the vet when you first get a puppy to have a full body exam and make sure they have all their vaccinations. My wife recently got adopted a puppy from one of our neighbors and we’re loving every second that we get to spend with her, unfortunately, we can’t take her to a lot of places because she isn’t fully caught up on her shots. I’ll have to look into getting my puppy looked at to make sure everything is okay, and hopefully, we can get her the right vaccines.

    Reply
  8. Violette Lebrac on

    My family just adopted a couple of wild cats in our area, and I want to know when I should take them to the vet. I appreciate the advice about taking cats to the veterinarian once a year if they’re between one and ten years old. I think the cats we’ve taken in are two or three years old, so maybe I should take them in as soon as possible for a checkup.

    Reply
  9. Rachel Frampton on

    I never thought to take my new cat to the vet to get her a preliminary check-up. That is such a good idea. I got her shots at a mobile clinic that comes to our neighborhood every month, but I haven’t taken her in yet. FuzzyButt has become such a part of my family that I need to make sure she stays around for a long time.

    Reply
  10. Daniel on

    I like what you said about how taking young animals, like a puppy, to the vet early on can be so important for helping them become a healthy adult because they can get proper vaccines and you’ll know about any underlying issues early on. My son is getting old enough that my wife and I are considering a pet. Thank you for this article, because I really wanted to know about what it takes to ensure a healthy pet. I think anyone with an animal is smart to help it be healthier by taking it to a vet clinic.

    Reply
  11. Barbera Peters on

    I have recently bought a new puppy for my family and thought that it would be good to see when it will need to get a check up from a vet. You mentioned that with puppies it is important to take them at about 8-10 weeks old. That is a great step for me to remember as I want to keep my pet healthy. Thanks for the great information on when to go the vet.

    Reply
  12. Marcus on

    It really helped when you mentioned how you need to take your dog to a vet when they are between 8 to 12 weeks of age. I can understand that doing this can help you keep your animal well and have the best treatment to start their lives. Personally, I would want to take the time to look at online reviews and ratings to make sure I choose a vet that has experience with animals like mine.

    Reply
  13. Jeremy Thompson on

    We just gave our daughter a kitten and she totally adores the feline. It’s good to know that we should bring her to a vet as early as her 6-8th week. We’ll do our best to keep our brand new family member healthy. Thanks for the advice!

    Reply
  14. Steele Honda on

    I did not know that if my puppy is up to 1 year we should visit a vet every 4 weeks! I am considering buying a dog so I will make sure we do that regularly. Thanks for the information!

    Reply
  15. Alexandria Martinez on

    Boomer is the dog that my fiance and I recently adopted to celebrate two years of being together. We want to make sure that Boomer is well taken care of by a good veterinarian. Both of us will make sure that our puppy has regular check-ups scheduled.

    Reply
  16. Ashley Maxwell on

    Thanks for your comment about how you should take your pet to the vet when they need to be neutered or spayed. I like how you said that you should you should find a veterinarian who really and truly cares about the health of your animals. My husband and I are considering helpful and caring veterinarians to take our dog into to be neutered.

    Reply
  17. Dan Moller on

    My wife and I have decided to adopt a puppy after a bit (read: a lot) of wheedling, begging, and threats come from our kids. I wanted to make sure that the whole family is prepared for any situation for our new family member and your article provides a very good starting ground. I recommend asking the vet about first aid seminars and check online videos for instructions as well.

    Reply
  18. Scott Adams on

    I’m glad that you recommended bringing a new puppy to the vet in the first 10 weeks of age. I have just bought a new puppy and wasn’t sure when to get its shots. I can see how it would be smart to bring it in before 10 weeks. That way the vet will be able to make sure it starts growing healthily.

    Reply
  19. Taylor Bishop on

    I just wanted to thank you for explaining some moments when to visit a vet. It’s good to know that you should go in for regular checkups at least once a year. My sister has been thinking of getting a pet and it sounds like it would be important for her to learn how often the pet should be checked up on, especially since the frequency depends on how old the animal is, like you mentioned.

    Reply
  20. Kenneth Gladman on

    We just got a new puppy for my sons birthday and we are really excited about him. It is our first dog so we don’t know much about vaccines or vet visits. I appreciate your information on visiting the vet once a year for regular checkups at least.

    Reply
  21. Derek Dewitt on

    My wife and I recently got a dog, but we aren’t sure when to take him to the vet. I like that you suggest bringing your puppy in during 8 to 10 weeks of age. We’ll be sure to do this so he can get an exam and vaccines. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  22. Marc on

    Thanks for mentioning how you should take your dog to a vet if it has been bitten by another dog or animal. It is a good idea to remember that checking with a professional can help you avoid infections and make sure your pet has not gotten any diseases such as rabies. Personally, I would want to make sure I choose a vet that I trust and know what their hours are before I need them so I know where to go for help in an emergency.

    Reply
  23. Elsa Anderson on

    I like how you mentioned that from a year old to its tenth year, our feline would only require a yearly visit to the veterinarian for a physical checkup. That is quite nice to learn as our little feline would surely love the lessened number of needs for him to visit a veterinarian. I’ll be sure to schedule him for a yearly consultation as soon as I find a reliable veterinarian in our new area as we just recently moved. Hopefully, a good service is just near our new abode so that the trips wouldn’t too much of an issue. Thanks!

    Reply
  24. Roger Middleton on

    My wife and I recently got a dog and we love him so much but we aren’t fully sure how to handle taking care of him. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to visit the vet asap to get the full-body exams and handle all vaccines that are needed. We’ll have to start looking around at vets in our area that will be able to handle everything that we’ll need when it comes to having a dog.

    Reply
  25. Jordan on

    I’ve been wanting to find a vet for our new puppy. I’m glad you talked about how you need to take your dog to a veterinarian if they are sick or injured. I’m going to have to look for a good option for a veterinarian, and see what I can find! Thanks!

    Reply
  26. ashleyturns94 on

    Thanks for letting us know that we should be visiting the vet about once a year if we have a full grown dog that’s about 1 to 10 years old. My husband and I have just gotten a dog, and we are wondering how we should go about visiting the vet. We will definitely have to go to the veterinary office at least once a year since we’re getting a 4-year-old dog.

    Reply
  27. Vivian Black on

    It’s good to learn that there are personal vet and veterinarian hospitals which offers 24-hour access to emergency pet care as your article mentioned. That would be a lifesaver for our canine have a weak immune system and is constantly sick. Our children love him even in his condition which is why we’d like to do everything we can to help him have a long lasting life. I’ll be sure to tour our new area to see if there are any of these 24-hour facilities nearby. Thanks!

    Reply
  28. Ashley Maxwell on

    Thanks for your tip to visit a veterinarian when your pet is newly b born, I like how you said that it’s also important to go when you need help knowing how to take care of your animal in the best way possible. My husband and I have a new cat with long nails, and we are looking it have her declawed by an expert vet; thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  29. Tiffany Locke on

    I’m glad that you mention how it’s important to regularly visit the vets in order to keep up with the well-being of your animal. In order to do this, you’d probably want to choose one that is near your home and who you get along with so that you won’t mind visiting them regularly. It would also be a good idea to visit the clinic in person so that you can talk to the veterinarian in order to talk about the services they offer and figure out whether you’d comfortable around them.

    Reply
  30. Gerty Gift on

    My husband and I are thinking of getting a kitten to add to our little family, but we wanted to make sure we were doing all the right steps before we started looking. I appreciate what you said about making sure to have a kitten visit within the first six to eight weeks for a check up to check their general health. We will be incorporating this when we get our new addition.

    Reply
  31. Marcus Coons on

    Thanks a lot for mentioning how you need to take your dog to the vet if it has been bitten by another dog. It is important to remember that doing this can help them avoid getting infected or sick. We are planning on getting a dog and want to make sure we find the best vet to help us care for it, so I’m glad I found your page.

    Reply
  32. Bethany Birchridge on

    I really liked that this mentioned that kittens shoud have their first trip to the vet at around 7 weeks old. I’ve been thinking about getting a bird. When should I schedule their first vet visit?

    Reply
  33. Earnest Watkins on

    My wife and I are looking at getting a puppy. It was really helpful how you mentioned that we should take our pet to the vet for the first time between 8 and 10 weeks of age. It might be helpful for us to research a reputable vet before getting a dog so we’re prepared to take it in for its first exam.

    Reply
  34. Ridley Fitzgerald on

    I’ve always wondered when going to the vet is really needed. I had no idea that dogs should see one within the first three months of life. We just barely got a new puppy, so I guess we need to find a good vet before it’s too late!

    Reply
  35. Sutton Turner on

    I am glad you talked about always taking your pet to the vet in cases of intense trauma. My dog got injured last year and we took him to the vet right away. Thank you for the information on when you should visit the vet.

    Reply
  36. Hannah Neilson on

    Thanks for explaining that you want to take a kitten to the vet at the 6-8 week mark. Finding a vet nearby with whom you can be in constant correspondence would be really helpful too. My husband and I are looking into adopting a kitten, so if we do, we’ll have to make sure that it has vet visits at the proper times.

    Reply
  37. Marcus Coons on

    I had no idea that a bloated stomach was caused to take your pet to the vet. It is important to remember that understanding how to act when your animal is sick can save their lives. Personally, I would want to make sure I find a professional that knows how to treat animals like mine.

    Reply
  38. Mary W. Johnson on

    No one likes visiting a doctor and the same applies to dogs too. However, it’s necessary to visit a vet to ensure your dog is in good health. Besides regular checkup, you should always consult your vet whenever you’re in doubt. This is an excellent article that covers when and why one should take their pet to the vet. Very well written.

    Reply
  39. Marcus Coons on

    Thanks for mentioning how the first trip to the vet would be when the puppy is under 10 weeks old. I can see how anyone looking into this would want to take the time to consider the type of dog they have before choosing a vet for them. A friend of mine was talking about how he needed to get a good preschool for his dog, so I wanted to learn more about it.

    Reply
  40. James Anderson on

    It is surprising to know that puppies up to a year old should be visiting the vet every three to four weeks until it’s 16 weeks old. I just got a new puppy from one of my friends and he mentioned that I need to take it to an animal hospital. While it sure is new to me that our pet should be taken to the vet frequently, I’ll definitely consult with a competent animal doctor in our area so that my puppy will stay healthy.

    Reply
  41. Heidi Bookenstock on

    My dog got into the kitchen cabinets and I’m afraid he ingested some cleaning products. I’m so glad this was mentioned in the article so I could know for sure he needs to see a vet. The hospital locator tool is also such a helpful option

    Reply
  42. Georgia B on

    Thanks for letting us know that puppies should get their first vet visit between 8-10 weeks! My dog just had her first litter, and we want to make sure these puppies get their best bet at a healthy, full life. We’ll definitely take them in around 2 months from now so that they can get a full body exam and their vaccines like you mentioned!

    Reply
  43. Burt Silver on

    My little pup has been acting odd lately and I’m beginning to think he may be ill especially after reading this article. What you said about apparent sickness or injury is something that I have noticed with him, like having a bloated stomach. It would probably be a good idea for me to take him to a vet and get him checked up and make sure that he is doing okay.

    Reply
  44. Joy Butler on

    It really helped when you said that we should normally bring our puppy to the vet for the first time between 8 to 10 weeks of age. I never knew that all I know is that pets should visit the vet when they’re sick. Oh my, am I that bad pet owner? Thanks for this information, from now on I will keep that in mind.

    Reply
  45. Ashley Maxwell on

    Thanks for mentioning how a pet consultation should be done by a vet for their well-being. I also like how you said that the check-up should be scheduled. My husband and I are looking for a veterinarian to give our husky a check-up.

    Reply
  46. Joy Butler on

    I found it interesting when you said that the first trip to the vet is an important step in raising a puppy into a healthy dog. And that we should normally bring a puppy to the vet for the first time between 8 to 10 weeks of age. Our labrador pet named Ella is now pregnant and we’ll be excited to wait for the puppies.

    Reply
  47. Rosie Beckett on

    I recently got my first puppy and I am so glad that I found this article because I don’t know much about visiting the vet. You make a great point that you should take your dog into the vet in the first 6 to 8 weeks. The fact that the doctor will check all of the vitals of my dog as well as giving initial vaccinations gives me peace of mind that my dog will be as healthy as possible.

    Reply
  48. Millie Hue on

    I totally agree that the pet should be brought to the vet when you have no idea what’s going on with them. I think that is the most important thing to do because it can save them from possible complications. My sister should know about this because she just called saying that her dog hasn’t been eating its food since this morning. With this tip, her dog will be properly diagnosed and treated immediately. Thanks!

    Reply
  49. Ridley Fitzgerald on

    It’s good to know more about seeing a vet. I like how you said that a puppy should see one within the first 8 weeks or so. We’re hoping to get a new puppy soon, so I’ll have to remember that.

    Reply
  50. Amanda Jasi on

    Yeah! You are right. It is really painful to visit the vet. My dog was very scary and he refused to get touched by the vet. He was almost injured, somehow the god saved him. Visiting the vet in a regular basis is very important in raising a puppy into a healthy dog. Regular grooming is also very important. You have also talked about the proper veterinary checkup schedules that’s very important. I like your post very much. Thanks!

    Reply
  51. Olivia Nelson on

    Thanks for explaining how you want to visit the vet with your puppy or kitten every three weeks until they are 15 weeks old. It would be good to find a nearby vet to help with this because it would help you get there more easily. My husband and I just adopted a little Siamese kitten, so we’ll have to consider a vet to visit.

    Reply
  52. Arya Smith on

    Thanks for helping me understand that the pet should be checked by a vet for at least once a year. I will keep that in mind since I have decided to adopt a dog next year. This has been my vow to myself to help at least one animal a year in any way possible. This information will help me know the necessities of owning a dog.

    Reply
  53. Jocelyn McDonald on

    My husband recently got me a dog for my birthday, and we’re wondering how to know when to take her to the vet. Your article was very helpful, and I liked how you said to take a puppy into the vet when they are between 8 and 10 weeks old so a full body exam can be conducted to determine overall health and vaccines can be administered. Thanks; we’ll keep this in mind when taking our new dog to the vet.

    Reply
  54. Katie Wilson on

    Thanks for the advice about talking with your vet as soon as you adopt a pet. It would make sense to find someone who is qualified and experienced to help look after your pet. My husband and I are looking to adopt a cat, so we’ll have to also find a good vet to help us out.

    Reply
  55. Sam Li on

    I like what you said about a good veterinarian giving advice about diet, grooming, and dental care for any pet. Finding a reputable veterinarian is a great way to ensure the health of your animal. I plan on moving this next year, so I’ll locate a good vet in my new community to make sure my cat is safe and sound.

    Reply

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