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Preventive Care for Dogs

Commit to a lifetime of health.

Preventive care is an essential part of keeping your dog happy and healthy. It will give you peace of mind and increase the odds of detecting underlying health conditions before they become advanced and expensive.

How often should my dog see a veterinarian?

At Gaithersburg Animal Hospital, we make our preventive care recommendations using the guidelines established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). From there, our veterinarians further customize their suggestions based on hereditary factors including your dog’s age, lifestyle, and medical history.

Typically, we suggest scheduling at least one annual exam during which one of our veterinarians will review your dog’s medical history, assess their behavior, make dietary recommendations, and evaluate any known health conditions they may have. 

What should I expect from a preventive dog care exam?

Think of your dog’s annual exam like your own yearly physical. At the appointment, we’ll read their temperature, examine their eyes, ears, teeth, and skin, listen to their heart and lungs, and evaluate their joint health. 

You can also expect your veterinarian to make recommendations for:

  • Vaccines based on your dog’s lifestyle or breed
    - Core vaccines include rabies, distemper, and Leptospirosis, although your veterinarian may recommend additional vaccines like canine influenza, Bordetella, and Lyme
  • Parasite prevention products to keep your dog safe from fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, and heartworms
  • Diagnostic testing to identify any health conditions that cannot be detected during a physical exam and to confirm your dog is free from internal parasites

At your dog’s annual exam, your veterinarian will answer any questions you may have and discuss other services that could improve their overall health such as spaying/neutering, microchipping, and dental care.

Suggested Care

Adults (1-10 years):

  • Annual Physical/Dental examination – Dental cleaning when tartar/gingivitis develop
  • DHPP and Rabies vaccination around 1 year of age and every three years thereafter (in alternating years) -some boarding or grooming facilities may require DHPP every 12 months
  • Annual Bordetella and Lyme Disease vaccination – some boarding or grooming facilities may require Bordetella every 6 months
  • Annual Leptospirosis and Flu vaccination as indicated by risk of exposure (grooming/boarding, dog parks, wildlife, etc.) -some boarding or grooming facilities may require every 12 month
  • Annual Heartworm/ Lyme Disease/ Ehrlichia blood test beginning at 1 year of age
  • Administer monthly Heartworm preventative and Flea/Tick preventatives year ’round
  • Fecal Parasite Exam and Giardia Test (at least annually), deworming as indicated
  • Feed premium quality maintenance diet (e.g.. Science Diet, Iams, Royal Canin, Nutromax)

Senior Adults (8-10 years and older):

  • Semi-annual Senior Wellness Examination
  • Annual Senior Wellness Laboratory Testing (screening bloodwork and urinalysis) – Additional blood tests, X-rays, EKG, ultrasound etc. as indicated
  • Vaccination and parasite control schedules as for mature adults
  • Feed premium quality senior diet or prescription/therapeutic diet as indicated by exam or test results.
  • Administer nutritional supplements, vitamins, nutroceuticals or chondroprotective agents as directed.

Call us at (301) 948-2828 to schedule your dog’s annual exam.

Dog Veterinarian