Keeping Your Dog Healthy for All Life Stages

Did you know that your dog's average life expectancy includes many factors such as breed, size, genetics, and lifestyle? Your veterinarian can help you give your dog every chance to have a long, happy life with you. Here are some basic guidelines and recommendations:


DSC03442.JPGYour new puppy will need a series of vaccinations to build immunity to some serious and sometimes fatal diseases and a series of physical examinations to facilitate your puppy's development into a healthy adult. Each of these visits will include invaluable information as our veterinarians share their knowledge and expertise. Appointments may vary according to age and individual requirements, but here is a sample of what you can expect from your initial puppy visits to our hospital as your puppy matures:

  • During all puppy visits the following discussion topics will be integrated with a comprehensive physical examination and vaccination schedule:
  1. Diet/nutrition, feeding guidelines, and puppy growth diets
  2. Housetraining
  3. Obedience training recommendations
  4. Socialization, toys, and exercise guidelines
  5. "Puppy proofing" and household environment
  6. Breed specific grooming and maintenance requirements
  7. Introduction to existing household pets
  8. Parasite control
  9. Heartworm disease and the importance of year round, once monthlyIMG_0016.jpg heartworm prevention medication
  10. Flea and tick control
  11. Intestinal parasites: in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, fecal samples for laboratory analysis every 6 months 
  12. Dental Care
  13. Spaying (ovarian hysterectomy - female) or Neutering (castration - male) at six months of age
  14. Micro-chipping for permanent identification of pet

Puppy examination and vaccine schedule:

  • First visit at approximately 6-8 weeks of age
  1. Physical examination
  2. Evaluation of previous vaccines and lifestyle questionnaire for individual vaccination plan
  3. Medical conditions and medications
  4. First DA2PP Vaccine and First Bordetella Vaccine
  5. Fecal examination and de-worming as needed
  6. Nail trim
  • Second visit at approximately 12 weeks of age
  1. Physical exam
  2. Evaluation of growth
  3. Second DA2PP vaccine and Second Bordetella Vaccine
  4. Nail trim
  5. Start heartworm prevention, flea and tick control once a month for life
  6. Re-evaluate diet/nutrition, housetraining, socialization etc.
  • Third visit at approximately 14 weeks of age
  1. Physical examination
  2. Review of growth process
  3. Rabies Vaccination (1 year puppy vaccine)


  • Fourth visit at approximately 16 weeks of age
  1. Physical exam
  2. Evaluation of growth
  3. Third DA2PP vaccine (final puppy booster = 1year vaccine)
  4. Nail trim
  5. Discuss and develop a vaccine protocol for additional highly recommended vaccines (Lyme, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza)
  6. Start obedience training
  • Fifth Visit at approximately six months of age
  1. Physical exam
  2. Schedule spay or neuter
  3. First heartworm test
  4. Pre-anesthetic blood screen and EKG preformed 
  5. Recommend microchip while under anesthesia
  6. Hip radiographs while under anesthesia to screen for hip dysplasia in medium to giant breeds or if indicated by a veterinarian


You and your puppy have graduated. As the owner of an adult dog, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is as important as a good start in life. Remember that each dog year is equal to 7 human years. If you bring your dog for a physical examinationIMG_0333.jpg every six months, it is equivalent to you visiting your doctor every 3 ½ years! During this time in your dog's life, our recommendations include a comprehensive physical exam every six months; early detection of disease gives your dog the best chance for successful treatment. The following vaccination schedule also helps prevent the pain and suffering of preventable disease while you have a happy, healthy life with your pet:

  • Beginning at approximately 1 year of age (after the initial series)
  1. Physical exam - every 6 months
  2. DA2PP vaccine - every 3 years
  3. Rabies vaccine - every 2years
  4. Lyme vaccine, Leptospirosis, CIV - annually
  5. Bordetella vaccine - every six months
  6. 4DX blood test combo (Heartworm, lyme, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis) - annually

SENIOR CITIZENS: 7+ years of age

Larger breeds may reach middle to senior age a year or two earlier than others IMG_0364.jpgand, just like people, aging pets have different requirements. It is important to recognize when your dog's behavior is abnormal, and physical examinations become even more vital to detect hidden disease. We must remember that they can't tell you what hurts. To provide your dog with the quality of life without pain we all hope for, you can help your friend with the following recommendations:

  • Examinations every six months
  • Clinical screenings of healthy pets establishes a baseline to compare in the future and helps to detect early onset of illness at a time when preventative care and therapy can have the most benefit.
  1. CBC
  2. Chemistry profile
  3. Thyroid levels
  4. Urinalysis
  5. Fecal exam- every 6 months
  6. Blood pressure measurement 
  7. EKG screening
  8. Chest and abdominal radiographs 
  9. Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) if indicated
  10. Abdominal ultrasound 
  • During all middle age and senior visits the following discussion topics will be integrated with a comprehensive physical examination and vaccination schedule:
  1. Diet and nutrition
  2. Feeding guidelines
  3. SupplementsIMG_0110.jpg
  4. Weight control: monitoring for weight gain or loss
  5. Increased attention to dental and oral health (home care)
  6. Orthopedic evaluation- spine and joints
  7. Monitoring mobility via exercise, joint supplements, arthritis medications (anti-inflammatory), pain management, chiropractic and acupuncture options, discuss accommodations/restrictions for disabilities 
  8. Cardiac evaluation
  9. Ophthalmology screening for glaucoma and other ocular diseases
  10. Mental health/Brain aging - monitoring for signs of cognitive decline and behavior change
  11. Importance of routine predictable environment
  12. Social interaction
  13. Companion pets
  14. Examination for skin and other lumps/tumors
  15. Examination/screening for other issues including breed associated diseases