Dog Health – when to take a dog to the vet

When to take your dog to the vet

Bull Straff - Puppy and dog health expert

By Bull Staffy

How often should you take a dog to the Vet?

Quick answer for when to take your dog to the vet? – take us whenever we are sick or sore and try and give us a checkup and dog shot boosters every year or so.

Now a bit more about when to take your dog to the vet: –

Dogs don’t like going to the vet much because they’re always poking me or jabbing me with needles and it hurts but the good thing is I usually get treats their and I love treats.

I don’t often feel sick but the funny thing is that feeling sick is like an early dream of things to come, it’s amazing, I hardly ever see the vet but as soon as I feel sick, I’m in the car and there she is. I’ve been to the vet a lot over the past couple of years, just because I was a puppy, so I can tell you when and how often I need to go.

When to take dog to vet

Most of this is about important stuff that tells you when we must go to the vet and sometimes even when we are not sick.

Just like you humans, we can have a high temperature, (look for our very dry nose or buy a dog thermometer) and we might be off our food or sick or we might be a bit stiff, particularly at the back end or we might be shaking unnaturally.

Also, check us regularly for unusual little lumps.

You’ll see below that some of these things might not seem much to begin with, but unless you take us to see a vet quickly, they can become very serious very quickly and might even end up with us dying.

Please don’t ignore our little illnesses. We are usually very healthy and don’t need a lot of medical attention if we are well cared for.

Anything unusual, please get us checked out at the vet!

Husky at the vet -


Make visits to the vet enjoyable. Some dogs like visiting their vet

Dog vaccination schedule

My very close cousins, American Pit Bull Terriers, live in the USA. Countries and even States have slightly different needs and schedules and you humans must check this out for your area or state. In Australia, there is no need for a Rabies shot but this is very important and in fact, a must by law, in most States in the USA.

Look, there are some big names when it comes to stuff dogs can get and I can’t even read them but any of these big names can make me very sick and even kill me. The big thing is to take me to the vet after I am six weeks old and a dog vaccination schedule will be prepared. We also need some regular pills to stop us getting some really bad things from ticks like heartworm, tick paralysis and Lyme disease. I got my first at six and a half weeks but didn’t know at the time they’d have to take me back to finish the course of shots! Ouch! Healthy dogs. Lots of dogs need humans to check their ears often

Keep us away from other dogs until we have our shots

Before I had these shots, I was kept away from other dogs by my humans just in case I got some horrible disease from some poor friend who had not had their dog shots. This is a great idea for all puppies.

Dog Shots – this was my schedule of shots!

  • First Shot 1              6 – 8 weeks

  • Second Shot 2              10-12 weeks      on this visit, talk about starting Heartworm

  • Third Shot 3              14-16 weeks      Now you must start Heartworm tablets – talk to the vet

  • Fourth Shot 4              12-16 months

There’s a booster jab (I’m only 2 -1/2) every 1 to 2 years after this, (I’ve had 1 booster so far). The Rabies shots will be given at the same time in the USA and by law, my poor American cousins must get another every 1-3 year. Your vet will keep you right on this.

What Disease do dogs need vaccinated against?

I told you, I can’t even say some of these names, but they sound terrible!

If you are in the USA and want to know more stuff about this, have a look at this American Kennel Club Page.

It’s good for Australians too but this RSPCA page might be a better guide.

Here we’ll tell you tell you something about dog diseases:- When to take dog to vet. Pup and Cat at vet. Dogspeaking

  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica – this is really bad, its not so fancy name is Kennel Cough
  • Distemper – Canine Distemper – a nasty killer with no cure
  • Canine Parainfluenza – can help cause kennel cough
  • Hepatitis Canine Hepatitis – a bit like human hepatitis and again there is no cure (can just treat symptoms)
  • Corona Virus – vomiting, diarrhea and no cure
  • Leptospirosis – a bacteria found in soil and water all over the world. Can be treated with Antibiotics if found on time
  • Parvoviris – a highly contagious virus and a real dog killer found world-wide
  • Rabies – a viral disease that can affect all mammals. Fortunately, not found in Australia but by law, most states in the USA insist on these dog shots.

Now you know the answer to, “what vaccines do dogs need?” Now some other nasty dog problems

You humans die in your millions with bites from mosquitoes and you can die or get sick from other creepy crawlies like ticks and flees.

When these things bite you, it can be very itchy and annoying and even sometimes painful – so I’m told but because I’m given protection against these horrors, I don’t get flea bites or ticks although I hate the mossy season – they are everywhere.

Heartworm in dogs When to take a dog to the vet. Heartworm in a German Shepherd.

We are all annoyed by mosquitoes and while mosquitoes don’t give us dogs malaria, they do give us heartworm!

You can’t keep mosquitoes from biting us, but you can prevent Heartworm. We might not feel a new heartworm infection but as these worms grow inside us, you might notice us coughing, acting tired all the time and not eating. Some dogs with bad heartworm might even find it hard to breath. 

Lyme Disease and tick paralysis

For dogs living in the USA or Australia, Tick paralysis is quite deadly. It claims the life of many dogs and cats every year and some tick bites can make humans very ill too.

This might help in an emergency – how to identify a Paralysis Tick in Australia. When to take dog to the vet The Australian Paralysis tick and 2 other common ticks - Dogspeaking

In the USA we need protection from these common ticks

  • Rocky Mountain wood tick
  • American dog tick
  • Deer tick
  • Lone Star tick

In Australia, it’s the paralysis tick, (fancy name Ixodes holocyclus), found in most coastal areas of eastern Australia especially in the warmer spring and summer months.

What is tick paralysis?

When we are bitten by paralysis ticks, they stick to our skin and suck our blood. When they are doing this, they have stuff (toxin) in their spit that goes into our blood that causes our muscles to stop moving (paralysis). We are sometimes affected differently but it’s all bad.

After a tick has been feeding on us for a couple of days (sometimes it takes up to a week) our back legs often are the first thing to stop moving. Soon our whole body can stop moving. Sometimes it starts with us just not being able to swallow properly and can make it difficult for us to breath and even stop us being able to breath at all!

of tick paralysis

Get us to the vet if you think we have tick paralysis, the sooner the better because there is medicine that can help (antitoxin). We will probably have to spend a little time in hospital and other things might happen to our bodies that will need quick attention. I had a doggie friend who ended up in an oxygen tent for a while but lucky he got better after a while.

How to protect your dog from tick paralysis

 when to take dog to vet. NexGard flee and tick prevention . NexGard is tried and tested product for protection

STOP it happening in the first place! Make sure we take our tablets regularly, or any other creams or collars you are using are up to date to stop ticks and flees biting us in the first place. (Effective tick preventative treatment in pills). Talk to the vet about this and sometimes the same pill will protect us from flees as well as ticks so two in one! Hey, do you know happened when the dog went to the flea circus? He stole the show!

If you know you have a lot of ticks in our area, keep our coats nice and short and groom us well. Check us regularly and pull off any ticks you see immediately. You can see some of the best here from Bayer.

Lyme disease in dogs

This is another thing we get from horrible ticks.

There is a bit of an argument going on with humans in Australia because they don’t think Lyme disease exists, even although some humans seem to have it but it’s there in the USA and it is quite common in dogs and even humans.

Early signs of Lyme disease in dogs

To begin with, you might think we have tick paralysis so we might start limping, we go off our food and our temperature rises. Often you will find swelling in in the front or side of our neck or maybe other part of our bodies (lymph node swelling).

It can be a bit frightening for us and for our humans if we start shaking all over or even have a fit. ( This is something called neurological problems or disorders). Lyme disease can ruin our heart, kidneys and affect our joints.

When to take dog to vet -Labrador puppy with stethescope - Treatment of Lyme disease in dogs

Any possibility of us having tick paralysis or Lyme disease, get us to the vet as quickly as possible!

Get us treated quickly, usually with antibiotics, we can feel better quite quickly.

The worst thing about Lyme disease is that once we seem OK, it can come back again months or even years later. That’s even if we have no more tick bites!

Yep, there is no cure, so give us plenty of water and makes us feel better with the help of the vet and we might just beat this illness ourselves if we are kept strong.

How to protect your dog from Lyme diseasewhen to take a dog to the vet. Frontline packet .

We think Frontline is one of the best preventative tablets, click to see more

Same as tick paralysis – STOP it happening in the first place! Make sure we take our tablets regularly to stop ticks and flees biting us in the first place. (effective tick preventative treatment in pills). Talk to the vet about this or have a look at some of the Bayer tick and flee prevention meds here.

You’ll know you have a lot of ticks in your area, keep our coats nice and short and groom us well. Check us regularly and pull off any ticks you see immediately.

Dog Care Summary

We dogs are quite a healthy lot and we don’t often get sick if we are looked after well but it is important to know when to take your dog to the vet.

Just like you humans, stopping us getting something is better (and a lot cheaper to you) than having to take us to the vet for some horrible dog disease.

Take us to the vet in the few times you are likely to see us feeling unwell. Don’t delay! Simple things can quickly lead to serious problems if they are not looked at quickly.

Dog at vet.


Take your dog to the vet if you see any signs of illness.

Things to look out for in your dog: –

  • high temperature
  • Stiffness or limping
  • Sick / vomiting
  • Not eating
  • Unusual little lumps
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Any other physical signs that don’t look right

Keeping your dog healthy

We need a series of dog vaccinations or dog shots from the age of 6-8 weeks. (big words is dog immunization) Not only are they really important to protect us but in some cases, you might be breaking the law by not getting us a dog shot to stop things like rabies.

Other regular dog tablets or dog pills are also important. Stop us getting heartworm from mosquito bite and stop tick paralysis or Lyme disease by protecting us against tick bites.

Further reading

American Kennel Club Page

RSPCA page

neurological problems

Read more tips from Bull on dog health here

Do you know what you must never feed a dog? Find out here

Basic Dog Care – How to take care of a puppy

Here is another piece by Bull Staffy.

Bull talks about the 7 most important things you must do and must know to have a healthy happy dog.

Bull talks about the most basic things you must give a dog like love and security but also looks at the very practical things you need like food, water, collars and leashes and beds.

You should find Bull’s advice a great help if you are a first time dog owner, read it here.

What to look for in dog food and food dogs must not eat

Heinz Bitz has a chart here on food dogs should never be given. It’s important to know that a nice piece of chocolate and other types of food your dog may love can cause death!

Heinz reviews other dog food and tells us about dog food for puppies and dog food for older dogs. It’s good sensible advice to help you feed your dog the right type of food for his size and age.

Click here to find out about food dog’s must not eat