dog having check up

Dog health checks: the importance of routine check-ups for your dog

As well as getting into a regular monthly parasite prevention routine for your dog, it’s vital to get him checked over by your vet at least once a year, to keep him up to date with his booster injections and general healthcare.

Think of the annual check-up as a health MOT for your dog. It’s also a chance for a hands-on examination by your vet, to nip any developing health issues in the bud, or to identify conditions that may need treatment.

Your dog’s annual check-up: what your vet will check

  • His lungs, using a stethoscope 
  • His heart, to detect any heart murmur or irregular heartbeat
  • His stomach, for swelling, pain or abnormalities
  • His weight
  • His temperature
  • His ears and eyes
  • His teeth to check for tartar and give advice on tooth brushing or any further treatment that may be needed
  • His fur and skin, for dryness, sores, fleas or ticks
  • His joints, for normal movement 
  • His genitals, for discharge or abnormalities

Your vet may also suggest blood or urine tests, or scans and X-rays if he or she believes it’s important to look at any aspect of your dog’s health in more detail, especially as your pet ages. 

The importance of annual vaccinations for your dog

Most vets believe the protective benefits of dog vaccination far outweigh any risks involved. If you’re planning a holiday and want to leave your dog in kennels, they will insist that your dog is up-to-date with his annual booster injections for distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis and canine parvovirus as well as a kennel cough vaccination which is administered up your dog’s nose.   

Your vet will be happy to give your dog his annual injections at the check-up, so do remember to mention this when you book the appointment.

Finally, your dog’s annual check-up is your chance to ask your vet any burning questions about your dog’s diet, behaviour, toilet training and general health (you can, of course, call your vet for advice any time you have a question or concern.)

Want help and advice on your dog’s health and wellbeing?

For expert advice on all aspects of dog care, get in touch with your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.