Canine (dog) Life Stage Wellness Guidelines

Routine wellness exam for healthy pets can establish a baseline assessment for future comparison and to detect early subclinical abnormalities at a time when preventive and therapeutic intervention may have the most benefit. Here are some guidelines for wellness visits at different life stages of your pet.

  • Puppy (0-6 months old)
    • Evaluate any congenital disorders e.g. Cleft palate, dentistry problem
    • Start endoparasite prevention at 8 – 9 weeks of age (recommend every 2 weeks)
    • Core vaccination at 12 – 16 weeks old, Rabies vaccination start at 6 months old
    • Discussion on group socialization, de-sex, grooming, training needed
    • Discuss about difficult flea/tick prevention according to individual lifestyle
    • Heartworm prevention starts at 8 weeks old according to the American heartworm society
  • Junior (7 months to 2 years old)
    • Desex if not considering breeding. Spaying female dogs before 2.5 years of age may reduce the risk of mammary tumors (the most common tumors in female dogs) and nearly eliminate the risk of pyometra
    • Monitor for weight changes and feeding to moderate body condition (Calorie intake needs to be reduced after desex)
    • Fecal exam 1-4 times per year depending on lifestyles
    • Continue vaccination+/-leptospirosis vaccine annually and rabies injection tri-annually
    • Heartworm testing at least annually
  • Adult (3 – 6 years old) and middle-age (7 – 10 years old)
    • Feed to moderate body condition. Monitor weight changes. Dog kept at their ideal weight from puppyhood through the senior life live an average 15% longer
    • Conduct fecal exam 1-2 times per year depending on lifestyles
    • Continue vaccination+/-leptospirosis vaccine annually and rabies injection tri-annually
    • Heartworm testing at least annually
    • Dog may develop dental disease at this stage of life and dental cleaning should be considered
  • Senior (11 – 14 years old) Geriatric (>14 years old)
    • Healthy senior and geriatric dog should be examined by vet in 6-months interval.
    • Blood test (CBC, biochemistry) and urinalysis every 6 months, adjusted according to individual health status

Common aged-related disease in dog included chronic kidney failure, osteoarthritis, cardiac disease, endocrine disease e.g. Hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism (cushing ) , diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and malignant tumor