Spring is almost here. I know, it may not feel like it where you live. It certainly doesn’t feel like it where I am. The dogs are still hiding inside. Snow is still on the ground. And that pesky ground hog called for a long winter this year. However, I can feel spring in the slightly longer days and the sunshine we’ve had almost every day. And with Spring, it’s time to start thinking of the spring health check for the dogs.
So start booking time with your vet to start the season with your furry companion in the best health possible.
Spring Health Check
Around the beginning of spring, in March or April, it is important to take the time to see your dog’s vet. What occurs at the vet will be determined by the vaccination schedule that you have for your dogs. However, now is the time for a few extra spring health checks.
At the beginning of spring, heartworm testing is done. A standard test done every year, it ensures that the heartworm treatment from the previous year was successful.
Heartworm tests are done before heartworm medication is prescribed. In some areas, heartworm prevention is only given for half the year. In warmer climates, it may be given year round. Regardless of your schedule, heartworm prevention starts at the spring health check.
Overall Health and Body Condition
Spring is a great time to check the overall health and well-being of your dog. Your vet will make sure that your dog is healthy and will discuss any concerns that he has. The health check will include looking in eyes, ears, and throat, monitoring the heart rate, checking any unusual bumps, and checking the condition of coat.
If the vet is concerned about weight gain, a common problem during the winter, he will discuss diet and exercise options for your dog.
This isn’t really about behavior problems but your vet will discuss any changes in your dog’s behavior from lethargy to grumpiness. There could be an underlying medical condition for the change and your vet will check symptoms if there is a concern.
Warm months often mean the return of fleas and the spring health check is the perfect time to start flea prevention. When your dog is having his health check, discuss the options for flea and tick treatment.
Along with vaccinations and flea, tick, and heartworm treatment, your dog’s vet will administer deworming medicine. The spring health check is a great time to get this done as well.
It may not seem like a lot, but the spring health check will make sure your dog is at his finest as the warm air approaches and he’ll be all ready for summertime vacations.
While vaccinations are a legal obligation in some countries to help prevent the spread of diseases, it is important to keep them updated for your dog’s health. However, more dog owners are moving away from yearly vaccinations to help protect their dogs from side effects. If you are interested in doing this, there are two different ways to do so:
This is a blood test where the vet tests the numbers of antibodies the dog has to set diseases. Many owners opt for this because it prevents too many vaccinations. Not all vets offer this service. Vets often debate the effectiveness of titering.
Many licensing agencies accept titering results. If you use a titer test, have it done in the spring while doing the spring health check
Two: Multi-Year Vaccinations
Currently, dogs can receive a 1-year or 3-year vaccination. This helps minimize the number of vaccinations given every year and reduces the yearly spring health check expense.
Vaccinations to Receive
Your dog’s vaccination schedule will shift depending on his vaccination schedule. May dog owners try to tie vaccinations in with the spring health check but it isn’t necessary.
A list of vaccinations that dogs should receive are:
- Rabies: Either a 1-year vaccination or a 3-year vaccination.
- DHLPP: All in one shot for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus.
- Lyme Disease: Optional but Lyme disease is a very serious condition.
- Bordetella: Also known as kennel cough. All dogs should receive this vaccination, especially if going to dog parks or doggy daycare.
- Corona Virus
Additional Spring Health Check Steps
We’ve gone through the spring health check. However, many vets offer additional services to their clients. Owners can take advantage of these extra services during the spring health check. These usually cost a bit more, in addition to the checkup and vaccinations, but it can be worth it.
Spring health checks are the perfect time to get nails clipped. Vets often clip nails for dog owners at no additional charge but some charge a small fee. While nail clipping isn’t necessary for the checkup, it is one less to do on your checklist.
Grooming at the vet’s is possible. Bathing, brushing, and more can be included with the health check. This makes the spring health check one stop and your dog will happily step out into the spring air ready for new adventures.
Dental Checkup and Cleaning
While I recommend a dental checkup when you go in for everything else, not everyone follows a spring dental cleaning. Some breeds require more frequent dental cleanings than others so really discuss your dog’s dental health with your vet.
Regardless of cleaning schedule, the spring health check is still a good time to check his teeth. This will ensure that the dog doesn’t have any problems and it will help catch the problems early before they become too serious.
Spring health checks are a wonderful way to get ready for the warmer months. Remember, with warm weather comes more trips out of the house. This can open up your dog for potential health problems. Getting a spring health check, updating any vaccinations, and protecting against parasites will ensure that your dog will be healthy and happy the whole season through.