Updated: May 6, 2021
You know your cat or dog needs regular checkups to stay healthy. But how often should they get them?
The answer depends on your pet's life stage.
Kitten or Puppy: Birth to 1 Year
You'll need to bring your little one in for vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks until they are 10 weeks old.
Dogs will get injections for distemper-parvo, and canine hepatitis. They may also need vaccination to protect against kennel cough and Leptospirosis. Microchipping can be done at these visits as well.
Cats will get vaccinations for cat flu and feline parvovirus. They can also be vaccinated against feline immunodeficiency virus (feline AIDS).
At this stage, your pet will also receive worm and flea- and tick-prevention medications.
The vet will examine your pup or kitten to make sure they are growing well and shows no signs of an illness. They'll check again at around 6 months, when you bring your pet in to be spayed or neutered.
Adult: 1 to 7-10 Years (Depending on Type of Pet and Breed)
During this stage, vets recommend yearly checkups. The vet will give your pet a head-to-tail physical. The vet may recommend other tests based on any problems your pet has or anything unusual they see during the exam.
Distemper-parvo-hepatitis booster shots happen during the first yearly checkup for dogs. Cats get annual booster vaccinations to keep their immunity up to date.
Your dog may get other vaccines to prevent illnesses like kennel cough and leptospirosis.
Senior: 7 to 10 Years and Older
Vets suggest twice-yearly checkups for older pets. Your cat or dog will get vaccinations when needed and will get a thorough physical exam, along with tests to follow up on any problems. Blood and urine tests can give your vet information on your pet's kidney and liver health, thyroid hormone levels, and more.
Mention any changes you've seen in your pet -- if, for example, your cat is drinking more water or your dog is no longer excited by their daily walks. These can be signs of a new problem such as kidney disease or arthritis.