Canine Health and Wellness

Canine: Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How often does my dog need to be examined by a veterinarian?

We recommend a minimum of an annual wellness exam for all pets. If your pet is of a "senior" or "geriatric" age, we recommend an exam every 6 months instead.

2.  How old is my dog in human years?

See attached Human/Pet Age Analogy Chart

3. How often do I need to bring in a fecal sample for examination?

We recommend testing a fecal sample every 6 months. If your dog is having soft stool or diarrhea, we should perform an additional fecal floatation at that time. A fecal floatation commonly helps identify roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and coccidia. It may also diagnose tapeworms and giardia.

4.  Do I need to give my dog heartworm preventative all year?

We recommend giving the heartworm preventative (Heartgard Plus) all year. In addition to having protection from heartworms, the Heartgard Plus also protects against intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms which can be transmitted during any season.

5.  How often does my dog need a heartworm blood test?

As a safeguard we and the American Heartworm Society recommend all dogs being tested annually for this deadly disease.

6.  Does my dog need flea or tick preventative?

Yes. All dogs are at risk of flea or tick infestation. We recommend using NexGard or Frontline Gold during all non-winter months.

7.  Should I spay/neuter my pet?



  • Decreased Risk for Developing Mammary Cancer Females spayed before the onset of their first heat have less than 0.5% chance for developing mammary tumors. This incidence increases to 8% if a female is allowed to have one heat cycle and 26% after two heat cycles. No preventative effect for mammary tumors is seen if a female is spayed after the age of 2 1/2 years. Eliminates the Risk of Pyometra This life-threatening uterine infection may develop in any unspayed female dog or cat. The uterus fills with a pus-like fluid and emergency surgery is necessary in most cases.
  • Eliminates the Risk of Ovarian and Uterine Cancers
  • The uterus and both ovaries are removed during the spay procedure.
  • Eliminates Unwanted Visits to Your Residence From Interested Males
  • Eliminates Unwanted Pregnancies Contributing to the Pet Overpopulation Problem Hundreds of thousands of pets are euthanized every year due to lack of homes.


  • Decreases the Risk for Developing Prostate Disease Unneutered males are prone to developing enlargement of the prostate gland (located surrounding the male urethra). The enlarged gland may become infected, develop an abscess or causes a male dog discomfort during urination or defecation.
  • Eliminates the risk of Testicular Tumors
  • Decreases Roaming Behavior and Intermale Aggression
  • Decreases the Risk of Marking Behavior in Dogs
  • Eliminates Contributing to the Pet Overpopulation Problem


  • Neutering or Spaying Causes Obesity Research has shown that neutering or spaying your pet does not cause your pet to become overweight or obese. Over-feeding and lack of exercise contribute to weight gain. At 6 months of age (when most veterinarians recommend spaying and neutering) most pets are growing less rapidly and becoming less active. If pets are fed the same amount of food, weight gain results.
  • Neutering or Spaying Changes My Pet's Behavior.
  • Behavior changes are usually not seen after surgery, although male dogs and cats may show less aggression towards other males of their species.
  • Female Dogs Should be Spayed After Their First Heat
  • Research has shown this may be more detrimental to your pet. The incidence of mammary cancer rises once your pet has experienced her first heat cycle.

8.  How often do I need my dog's teeth cleaned?

This varies greatly from dog to dog. Some dogs need their teeth professionally cleaned (dental prophylaxis) every 6 months while others may only need it done every 5 years or so. When your dog is in for an examination the veterinarian will discuss your dog's oral health with you.

9.  My dog is overweight; what should I do?

Obesity can cause a number of health problems in dogs just as in humans. If you don't know if your pet is overweight, one of our veterinarians or technicians can evaluate your pet with you. They may recommend feeding less food, eliminating treats and/or table food, feeding a lower calorie food or increasing the amount of exercise.

10. What breed of dog should I get?

Before you acquire a dog you should do as much research as possible about different breeds. Make sure you get a dog that matches your lifestyle and personality. Once you have decided on a particular breed you should visit a humane society or rescue group. There are many purebred and mixed breed dogs that would love to have a home with you! If you do decide to purchase from a breeder, do so with caution. Only purchase from a reputable breeder and never from a pet store.

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