Why Preventive Healthcare is Important for Dogs

By Krista Williams, BSc, DVM, CCRP; Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM; Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM

Fluffy white dog being weighed at a vet clinicThe American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have paired up to develop "The Canine Preventive Healthcare Guidelines"  to help veterinarians and dog owners keep dogs healthy and happy. All medical professionals are increasing their reliance on scientifically grounded clinical guidelines such as these to improve patient health, quality of care, and quality of life. Veterinarians recognize the usefulness of these guidelines in elevating the standard of care they can provide to their canine patients.

How will these guidelines benefit my dog?

Preventive care and early intervention in diseases provide well-established and well-accepted benefits in human medicine and human dentistry. Now that dogs are living longer, they are developing some of the same age-related illnesses and issues that humans develop, such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer.

"Now that dogs are living longer, they are developing some of the same age-related illnesses and issues that humans develop..."

Your veterinarian plays an essential role in maintaining your dog’s health and wellness. Part of his or her goal is to help you understand the importance of preventing diseases or at least catching them early when they are more manageable. The guidelines provide a coherent and straightforward plan that promotes prevention and early intervention, and can ultimately help dogs live longer and healthier lives.

To learn more about these guidelines and how your veterinarian uses them at your dog’s examination, please refer to the handout “Preventive Healthcare Guidelines for Dogs”.

How does the information in these guidelines differ from what I can find on the internet?

The Canine Preventive Healthcare Guidelines reflect the best available scientific and clinical information for enhancing your dog’s health and quality of life at various life stages. This is information that is often challenging for pet owners to find on their own. In addition, the guidelines translate evidence-based medicine into everyday actionable best practices, empowering veterinary healthcare teams and dog owners to work together on behalf of a dog’s best interest.

"...the guidelines translate evidence-based medicine into everyday actionable best practices..."

Can I expect that every visit my dog has with my veterinarian will be the same?

Each visit will be different for several reasons. Medical knowledge and understanding of disease prevalence and processes are constantly expanding. The Canine Preventive Healthcare Guidelines are designed to be modified and updated as newer information about keeping dogs healthy becomes available. In addition, veterinarians already understand that as dogs age, their needs change, and their risk for various diseases increases. Puppies have different preventive health care needs than young adults, and senior dogs have their own unique needs.

Year to year, the details of a dog’s veterinary visits will change, but the underlying emphasis will remain the same — a focus on maximizing our canine companions’ health, wellness, and quality of life!

Related Articles