How To Know When To Take Your Pet To The Vet

A Sploot veterinarian holding a cat patient.

When Should I Take My Pet to the Vet?

Great question, pet parent! We like to say that vet visits should parallel our visits to the doctors. So, the very basic answer is at least once a year for an annual check-up, plus any time your pet is showing symptoms of illness or pain. Let’s take a deeper dive below.  

What's in this Guide?

A cat brought in to the vet for a wellness exam

How Often Should I Take My Pet to the Vet?

If you just welcomed your pet home as a young kitten or puppy, the next year or so, you’ll be at the vet a bit more than normal. Primary care appointments such as vaccinations, wellness check-ups, and spay / neuter surgeries are all to be expected in the beginning stages of life!

After that one-year mark, things do slow down a bit, but not completely! We generally recommend that your pet to come in for one annual wellness exam, and one dental cleaning a year. However, this does vary from pet to pet, so make sure to talk to your vet for any special needs your pet may have.  

Now that we have the routine check-ups down, what about non-routine issues? Our pets can get sick at any time, just like us, so it is important to know when your pet needs to be seen by our team. 

What Symptoms Should I Bring My Pet in For?

As a pet parent, you know your pet better than anyone else, so it is important to be in tune with their normal behaviors and possible symptoms, such as: 

  • Unusual eating behaviors (either not eating as much or excessive hunger/begging)
  • Excessive thirst
  • Red, cloudy, or discharge in eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Change in stool (dry or difficulty going, worms, diarrhea, blood, or mucus)
  • Lethargy (tired or sluggish)
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Scooting 

These symptoms are important signs that a visit to the vet is in order. Reach out to our team or drop by for a walk-in appointment as soon as possible so we can treat your pet to get them back to their best selves! If you are noticing something else not on this list that seems a bit off, don’t hesitate to call us regardless. We are here to help.  

Signs That Urgent or Emergency Help is Needed

In some cases, your pet may need urgent or emergency medical attention. The following are situations and symptoms wherein pet parents are advised to reach out to a veterinarian as soon as possible:

  • Open wounds, possible broken bones or injury due to trauma or incidents such as a fall or being hit by a vehicle, even if they appear to be acting OK
  • Seizure, Sudden collapse or difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding from mouth, nose, or eyes
  • Repeated vomiting over 1 hour or vomiting blood, or retching and trying to vomit with no food coming up (a symptom of bloat)
  • Extreme pain, displayed by whining or shaking
  • Hard and/or swollen abdomen
  • Inability to pass urine
  • Labored breathing
  • Inability to deliver puppies (over two hours between puppies)
  • Ingestion of toxins or poisons, such as chocolate, poisonous plants, sugar-free products with xylitol, grapes or raisins, rat poison
  • Inability to stand, wobbliness or dragging of limbs
  • Sudden disorientation
  • Pale color to gums 

If you notice any of these symptoms, reach out to an urgent care veterinarian right away to best decide the next plan of action. 

Final Thoughts on When to See a Vet

To wrap up, we'd like to remind pet parents to schedule at least one annual veterinary appointment for a wellness exam, as well as an appointment for dental cleaning yearly. Beyond that, give us a call if something doesn’t seem right with your furry friend, or if you notice any of the above symptoms.

Sploot Veterinary Care is a go-to provider of primary and urgent care. We offer daily appointment availability (including holidays) and extended vet clinic hours, so that we can be here for pet parents when our help is needed the most. Feel free to book an appointment online or through the Sploot Vets app.

Till next time, we're with you every pounce of the way!