Have you ever noticed that your dog isn’t always the best at letting you know how they’re feeling, health-wise? Sure, that wagging tail tells you they’re happy, but what does it mean when they start sleeping longer, or not at all? What if they seem less interested in their food, or more interested in water?
These are the kinds of questions your vet can answer at your dog’s annual vet visits. Plus, routine vet care is the best method for preventing health problems in your dog before they arise. To help you and your dog get the most out of your next annual visit, we’re answering some common questions about checkups.
How Often Should a Dog Visit the Vet?
Our friends at Opens a new windowBanfield Pet Hospital recommend partnering with your veterinarian to determine how often you should bring your pet in for comprehensive exams. If you haven’t had a chance to speak with your vet, making time for an annual checkup is a great place to start. Yearly visits help mark milestones in your dog’s growth while monitoring ongoing concerns or spotting new developments. If you haven’t seen your vet in over a year, why not schedule an appointment?
Why Does My Dog Need a Checkup?
Yearly visits are a great opportunity to make a plan for your pet’s health — while spotting any problems before they get more serious. Plus, you may realize you had questions about your pet’s health, but didn’t know how or who to ask.
It’s also important for you and your pet to get comfortable with your veterinarian. Taking your dog to the vet when there are no pressing health concerns gives them a better chance of seeing the vet as a safe and familiar place to visit. (In the event of a sudden or severe change in your pet’s health, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately, rather than waiting for your next scheduled checkup.)
How Much Does a Dog Vet Visit Cost?
Cost is a common concern when it comes to vet visits. You may be wondering, “How much is a vet visit?” Unfortunately, there’s no standard answer. Vet visit cost generally depends on your veterinarian, your location and what type of services they offer during your pet’s checkup, which can include a physical exam, routine bloodwork and vaccinations, and chatting about how your pup is doing and whether you’ve noticed any changes in them. A 2019-2020 survey found that dog owners paid $212 on average for yearly routine vet visits1; many vet offices charge a standard exam fee of $40–$60 with additional costs for other services and diagnostics.2
Some pet health providers, like Banfield, offer annual preventive care packages with payment plans so pet owners have the option to budget the cost over the course of the next 12 months. As with most questions related to your visit, asking your vet is the most direct way to find out.
Right now, IAMS is helping dog owners skip the cost of their yearly checkups altogether. All you have to do is buy two qualifying bags of IAMS dog food; then, redeem your receipts here and IAMS will pay for the cost of your annual checkup. Your dog gets to eat veterinarian-recommended food and you get to save money. Win-win!
How Can I Keep My Dog Healthy Before the Visit?
Nutrition and exercise are two of your most valuable tools to keep your pet on track between vet visits. In addition to examining your pet, your veterinarian can advise on how much exercise your pet needs and the right diet for them.
In general, the best nutritional option for your pet is a consistent, balanced and veterinarian-approved diet that meets their individual nutritional requirements and is appropriate for their life stage. No one formula is ideal for all pets, and your pet’s diet may need to change over time based on their lifestyle, life stage and medical history. That’s why IAMS offers a variety of diets to fit your dog’s unique needs — all designed to help promote healthy digestion, healthy skin and coat, and healthy energy for your best friend.
What Do I Do After My Dog’s Annual Checkup?
Hopefully you’ve followed our tips for helping you and your veterinarian bring out your dog’s unique best by making good use of their annual visit. During the checkup, your vet will probably give you advice on things to watch out for as your dog grows, as well as some practical advice for keeping them healthy in the meantime. Follow their guidance and, above all, keep loving on your furry family member.
1 Pet Industry Market Size, Trends & Ownership Statistics. (2021, March 24). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from
2 Banfield Price Estimator. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.
4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food
1. Introduce the new food gradually.
When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:
- Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
- Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
- Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food
At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
2. Watch your body language.
Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.
3. Don't give in to demands.
Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.
4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.
Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.
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