Jan 03, 2022 | By, For Pet's Sake

Should I take my dog for an annual wellness appointment?

A dog will often let you know they need something by barking, whining, or touching you with their paws. That “something” can be very ambiguous though. Is it food, water, attention, play time, or something much worse?

Without regular trips to the veterinarian, you won’t fully know your dog’s health status. If you wait until you see obvious signs of pain or infection, it could be too late. During annual wellness exams with your vet, you can discuss changes in your dog’s health, highlight any concerns, talk about prevention strategies, or draft a treatment plan that will work for an extended time.

All of the following categories may come up during your annual visit, so be prepared to talk with your vet about each one so that you cover all aspects of your dog’s health.


Rabies, bordetella, parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, the list goes on and on about diseases your dog could contract during their lives if they aren’t vaccinated. Some of these vaccines are required as a puppy. Some are even required by law. You’ll need to talk to your vet about which ones are necessary and which ones are recommended based on your pet’s tendencies. You’ll also want to keep good records of when your pet has received their vaccines because they have different renewal times. Seeing your vet regularly helps keep those records straight and updated accordingly.


Animals develop allergies to various things just like humans do. Their triggers can be year-round (fleas, dust, or food), or they can be seasonal (pollen, plants, or mold). Knowing their triggers can help you prevent serious reactions and rule out more serious conditions. Veterinarians can diagnose allergies and prescribe treatment, and they can also test for other conditions if your pet has never shown previous signs of allergies, such as excessive itching, skin inflammation, watery eyes, or sneezing.

New injuries

Animals get wild sometimes. Their bones and muscles also deteriorate as they get older, increasing the likelihood of injuries. Having an established relationship with your vet will give you an easy point of contact in emergencies. That relationship will also prove valuable when you seek follow-up treatment during the recovery process.

Age-appropriate advice

Caring for a puppy is much different than caring for an adult pet. A senior pet also has special requirements. Speaking to your vet at least once a year gives you the opportunity to learn how you should be treating your pet at home. It also keeps them up to date on medications, supplements, and daily dietary needs.

Potentially malignant growths

Noticing a new bump while petting your furry friend is alarming. Cancerous growths are incredibly common as pets grow older, with about 50% of dogs developing cancer after the age of 10. If you’re sure it’s not a scab, bug bite, or a tuft in their hair, visit the vet immediately. Regular checkups provide a chance for a professional to examine your pet thoroughly and track the progress of any unusual growths. 

If you’ve rescued a pet or have a pet who is prone to accidents, it might be a good idea to consider pet insurance to cover your veterinary costs. Insurance plans vary, so make sure you are getting coverage for the visits and procedures you need. Otherwise, you might be throwing money away that could simply be used to pay for the cost of an annual examination and a few vaccines.

Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet’s Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.