Why Your Dog’s Annual Vet Visits Are Worth the Cost
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Have you ever noticed that your dog isn’t always the best at letting you know how they’re feeling, health-wise? Sure, that wagging tail tells you they’re happy, but what does it mean when they start sleeping longer, or not at all? What if they seem less interested in their food, or more interested in water?
These are the kinds of questions your vet can answer at your dog’s annual vet visits. Plus, routine vet care is the best method for preventing health problems in your dog before they arise. To help you and your dog get the most out of your next annual visit, we’re answering some common questions about checkups.
How Often Should a Dog Visit the Vet?
Our friends at Banfield Pet Hospital recommend partnering with your veterinarian to determine how often you should bring your pet in for comprehensive exams. If you haven’t had a chance to speak with your vet, making time for an annual checkup is a great place to start. Yearly visits help mark milestones in your dog’s growth while monitoring ongoing concerns or spotting new developments. If you haven’t seen your vet in over a year, why not schedule an appointment?
Why Does My Dog Need a Checkup?
Yearly visits are a great opportunity to make a plan for your pet’s health — while spotting any problems before they get more serious. Plus, you may realize you had questions about your pet’s health, but didn’t know how or who to ask.
It’s also important for you and your pet to get comfortable with your veterinarian. Taking your dog to the vet when there are no pressing health concerns gives them a better chance of seeing the vet as a safe and familiar place to visit. (In the event of a sudden or severe change in your pet’s health, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately, rather than waiting for your next scheduled checkup.)
How Much Does a Dog Vet Visit Cost?
Cost is a common concern when it comes to vet visits. You may be wondering, “How much is a vet visit?” Unfortunately, there’s no standard answer. Vet visit cost generally depends on your veterinarian, your location and what type of services they offer during your pet’s checkup, which can include a physical exam, routine bloodwork and vaccinations, and chatting about how your pup is doing and whether you’ve noticed any changes in them. A 2019-2020 survey found that dog owners paid $212 on average for yearly routine vet visits1; many vet offices charge a standard exam fee of $40–$60 with additional costs for other services and diagnostics.2
Some pet health providers, like Banfield, offer annual preventive care packages with payment plans so pet owners have the option to budget the cost over the course of the next 12 months. As with most questions related to your visit, asking your vet is the most direct way to find out.
Right now, IAMS is helping dog owners skip the cost of their yearly checkups altogether. All you have to do is buy two qualifying bags of IAMS dog food; then, redeem your receipts here and IAMS will pay for the cost of your annual checkup. Your dog gets to eat veterinarian-recommended food and you get to save money. Win-win!
How Can I Keep My Dog Healthy Before the Visit?
Nutrition and exercise are two of your most valuable tools to keep your pet on track between vet visits. In addition to examining your pet, your veterinarian can advise on how much exercise your pet needs and the right diet for them.
In general, the best nutritional option for your pet is a consistent, balanced and veterinarian-approved diet that meets their individual nutritional requirements and is appropriate for their life stage. No one formula is ideal for all pets, and your pet’s diet may need to change over time based on their lifestyle, life stage and medical history. That’s why IAMS offers a variety of diets to fit your dog’s unique needs — all designed to help promote healthy digestion, healthy skin and coat, and healthy energy for your best friend.
What Do I Do After My Dog’s Annual Checkup?
Hopefully you’ve followed our tips for helping you and your veterinarian bring out your dog’s unique best by making good use of their annual visit. During the checkup, your vet will probably give you advice on things to watch out for as your dog grows, as well as some practical advice for keeping them healthy in the meantime. Follow their guidance and, above all, keep loving on your furry family member.
1 Pet Industry Market Size, Trends & Ownership Statistics. (2021, March 24). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp
2 Banfield Price Estimator. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.banfield.com/Services/price-estimator
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- adp_description_block455Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
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Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be more than 50 pounds. But not all large- and giant-breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog’s nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs.
Choosing a Food for Overall Health
To address the special needs of your large- or giant-breed dog, look for these features:
- Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
- Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
- High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
- A moderately fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients, and reduce backyard cleanup
- A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels
These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in treats, wet dog food, or dry dog food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed.
Maintaining Healthy Joints and Cartilage
Joint health is a big concern for owners of large- and giant-breed dogs. A large- or giant-breed formula that contains high-quality protein can help nourish healthy joints. Vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.
Guarding Against Weight Gain
Dogs with lower activity levels and dogs that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog’s weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:
- A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
- L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
- Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health
Providing Nutrition During Pregnancy
Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds; these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals that may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.
Switching to a Mature Diet
Dogs who grow to be more than 50 pounds are considered mature or senior at age 5 or 6, which is earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it’s critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult Large Breed, to help keep your dog healthy and active as she ages.
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