How To Know When To Take Your Pet To The Vet

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. However, let’s take a deeper dive below. 


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! However, after that one year mark, things do slow down a bit, but not completely! We generally recommend for your pet to come in for 1 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 need!

Now that we have the routine check-ups down, what about not-so-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 Urgent / Sick 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 maybe not so normal symptoms. 

  • 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. Give us a call 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! Like we said, you know your pet the best! We are here to help. 


Signs Of Emergency Help Needed:

  • 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, call your veterinarian right away to best decide the next plan of action.


As you can see, there is not a set schedule or one answer for every pet’s veterinary needs! We recommend at least an annual appointment for a wellness exam, as well as a dental cleaning yearly, but make sure to coordinate with your vet to confirm that works well for your fur baby’s specific needs. Beyond that, don’t EVER hesitate to give us a call if something doesn’t seem right! There is never a time you can be too careful :) Besides, we will take all the pup kisses and kitty snugs any day!

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