What is a Pet Wellness Exam?

An ongoing dog wellness exam in Sploot Veterinary Care, Denver, CO wherein the Sploot Veterinarian is interviewing the dog’s pet parent

Pet wellness exams are a vital part of preventive care for dogs and preventive care for cats. Preventive care is the number one investment a pet parent can make to ensure that their furry companions stay healthy through the years. 

Pets undergo wellness exams to make sure that they’re bright-eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to enjoy life to the fullest. Scheduling regular pet wellness exams also ensures that budding health problems are detected and addressed earlier.  

If you're curious about the process of a pet wellness exam or wondering if it will address your pet’s unique needs, this complete guide answers the most common questions about this routine veterinary service. 

What’s in this Guide?

An ongoing cat wellness exam in Sploot Veterinary Care, Denver, CO wherein the Sploot Veterinarian is examining a cat

What is Included in a Pet Wellness Exam?

Before talking about why pet wellness exams are important, let’s discuss what exactly goes on in this type of veterinary service. There are 4 main components in a pet wellness exam. These can happen in any order or simultaneously:

1. Physical Exam of Your Cat or Dog

The veterinarian will examine the pet’s fur, skin, joints, eyes, nose, ears, mouth, claws, and teeth. The vet will also check vitals signs such as body temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate. 

2. The Vet Interviews You

Because animals cannot talk for themselves, you will be the voice of your animal companion. Your vet will ask questions related to the pet’s diet, behavior, sleeping patterns, exercise, bowel movement, urination, and so on.

3. Lab Work

A complete pet wellness exam includes some lab work, as requested by the veterinarian, which are done either in-house or at a lab. Routine lab tests take away the guesswork when it comes to the nitty-gritty of your pet’s health. Samples of blood, stool, and urine are collected for testing. Just these three samples can reveal the following and more: 

  • The presence of heartworm (seen on blood work)
  • Diabetes (seen on blood work)
  • Liver disease (seen on blood work)
  • Kidney disease (seen on blood work)
  • UTI (seen in urine analysis)
  • Intestinal worms (seen in stool analysis)
  • Microscopic parasites (seen in stool analysis)

4. Recommendations & Wrap Up of a Pet Wellness Exam

During the final stage, veterinarians tailor their recommendations and next steps for you and your canine/feline companion. Veterinarians may give advice for better nutrition and exercise; they may also give tips on addressing behavioral issues or medical concerns. 

If your cat or  dog is due for vaccinations they are usually administered during this stage of the wellness exam. 

The start of a pet wellness exam in Sploot Veterinary Care, Denver, CO wherein the Sploot veterinarian is using a stethoscope

Why Pet Wellness Exams are Important

A pet wellness exam is what initiates and guides the entire journey of preventive care. Here at Sploot, we emphasize the importance of preventive care because it helps pet parents have as many happy years as possible with their furry friend. 

Having regular dog wellness exams or cat wellness exams is an investment that carries all of the following benefits:

1. Address Health Issues Early

For people and pets alike, the old adage rings true — that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Yearly or biannual pet wellness exams allow veterinarians to identify and address any potential health problems before they become more serious or life-threatening. Coming in regularly and more frequently (i.e. biannually versus yearly) will increase the chances of detecting health issues earlier. 

Because regular pet wellness exams allow for the early screening of health issues, these help lessen the likelihood of diseases or health problems that need urgent or emergency care. Dr. Lindsay Drake, DVM, Sploot’s Associate Veterinarian, emphasizes, “If abnormalities or concerns are found [in wellness exams] then these issues can be addressed quicker — such as an ear infection, scheduling a teeth cleaning, testing masses etc.”

2. Get Personalized Advice on Caring for Your Pet

One of the main benefits of pet wellness exams is that you get focused one-on-one time with your veterinarian. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and get tailored advice regarding your pet’s well-being. 

Depending on your cat or dog’s age, weight, breed, and health predispositions, a pet wellness exam is the perfect opportunity to get personalized pet care advice, straight from an expert. This is also a great opportunity to get tips from your vet on non-medical factors like training tips, recommended exercise, introducing new pets or family members, or caring for an aging pet. 

3. Veterinarians Get to Know Your Pet

Pet wellness exams are also an opportunity for veterinarians to really get to know the animals to whom they administer care. Experienced veterinarians will get a full picture of the dog or cat’s unique health risks based on factors such as breed, weight, diet, age, behavior, etc. and can keep records for future appointments.

With regular wellness visits, your pets will become familiar with their vets and the sights and sounds of the clinic. In case urgent veterinary care is needed at any point, pets will be more familiar and relaxed when brought to the vet clinic.

Sploot Veterinary Care prioritizes stress-free vet visits, with clinics and exam practices   designed to provide optimal comfort and calm. Modern clinics like ours are designed to feel like a sanctuary for animals - complete with friendly staff and delicious treats. We welcome our pets and parents to walk in for “happy visits” so that we can create an environment where your pet feels right at home.

Now that we’ve covered what a pet wellness exam is and why it’s important, here are the most frequently asked questions regarding pet wellness exams.

A dog waiting in Sploot Veterinary Care’s waiting room in Denver, CO

How Long Does a Wellness Exam Take for a Dog or Cat?

Generally, pet wellness exams take approximately 30 minutes. Senior pets or pets with known health conditions may take longer, usually 1 hour

Fully equipped clinics like Sploot Veterinary Care are able to get wellness exams done as efficiently as possible within-house labs, the support of qualified veterinary technicians, and our Pet and Parent Experience team.

How Often Should My Dog or Cat Get a Wellness Exam?

We recommend scheduling your pet’s wellness exam at least once a year for cats and dogs. However, senior pets or pets with health issues may need more frequent visits as recommended by your veterinarian. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

Scheduled or Same-Day Pet Wellness Exams at Sploot

We hope you enjoyed our complete guide on pet wellness exams. If you have specific questions about dog wellness exams or cat wellness exams, feel free to reach out!

Sploot Veterinary Care is a trusted vet clinic, serving multiple locations in Denver & Chicago. If you’re in need of a scheduled or same-day pet wellness exam, our clinic doors are open 365 days a year, 8am - 8pm.

Ready for a veterinary experience that feels like a walk in the park? That’s us! Give us a call or book an appointment here. Till next time, we’re with you every pounce of the way!