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Preventive Care for Dogs: Ultimate Guide for Pet Owners

If you love your dog (and we know you do), then there’s no question you want to do what’s best for their health and happiness. Being a proactive pet owner and doing preventative care for your dog is one of the best ways to help your dog avoid common health challenges.

preventive care in dogs

What Does Preventive Care Mean for Dogs?

There’s an adage that says, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and there’s a lot of truth to that statement for people and pets. When we talk about preventative care at Metrovet, we’re often discussing things like heartworm and flea control, routine stool sample and heartworm testing, administration of vaccinations, proper dental care, and annual visits that help you follow a basic wellness plan for your dog.

Preventative Healthcare Guidelines (AAHA/AVMA Recommendations)

The AAHA stands for the American Animal Hospital Association, and the AVMA stands for American Veterinary Medical Association. Both of these organizations are leading advocates for animal welfare and help create standards and recommendations that we follow at Metrovet.

Below is a detailed list of some recommendations (and explanations) that go into our pet wellness plans and general services.

Spay & Neuter

Puppy Preventative Care

Getting your pet spayed or neutered can have positive health effects, including a decrease in health risks, including common cancers in females such as uterine, breast, and ovarian. For male dogs, neutering lowers prostate or testicular cancer risks and can improve behavioral issues like aggression. In addition to the health benefits, spay and neuter services help eliminate unwanted litters and reduce overall behavioral concerns.


Core vaccinations can help your dog maintain a healthy, long life and stay protected from contagious diseases that may affect their nervous system and cause respiratory infections, aggression, and other severe risks.

Our comprehensive vaccination schedule includes a Rabies Vaccine and DAPP, which protects against Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2 (Hepatitis), Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), these are core vaccines. Additional vaccines may be recommended depending on your pet’s unique exposure and health risks.

Quality Diet

A quality diet will support your dog’s overall wellness, energy, and even dental health. A correct diet is one that is full of healthy, natural foods such as meats, vegetables, and even fruits. Whether you use commercial dog food or create meals at home, talk to your veterinarian about utilizing proper nutrition to support your dog’s health, weight, dental needs, and more.


Exercise, like in humans, is critical to maintaining energy, health, weight, and more. Since your dog can’t go to the gym, preventative care means taking your dog for walks, runs, and enjoying playtime. The level of play and movement will vary depending on your pet’s age, health, and abilities. Start with a physical exam and talk to your vet about how to best integrate exercise into your dog’s daily activities.


A microchip may not seem like an obvious part of preventative pet care, but it is a great way to help you avoid something scary in the future. A microchip is a small device implanted under your pet’s skin that allows them to be identified and reunited with you if they are ever lost. For that reason, it’s a critical step that can keep your pet happy and safe throughout their life.

Flea & Tick Control

Fleas and ticks aren’t just annoying. For your pet, they’re extremely dangerous. Fleas can transmit harmful intestinal parasites like tapeworms when ingested. Ticks can also transmit infections like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, and more. In addition, these two external parasites can cause anemia if left untreated for too long.

Regular tick and flea treatment is the best way to prevent animal parasites from wreaking havoc on your dog.

Heartworm Medication

Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause severe lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and even death. Fortunately, Heartworm prevention is simple and highly effective at reducing your dog’s risk. Talk with your veterinarian about Heartworm preventatives that are easily administered to keep your dog safe.


Check-ups are a huge part of supporting all the preventative care practices we’ve discussed. That’s because check-ups allow your veterinary team to assess your pet’s overall health regularly.

During annual wellness exams, your vet will look for any signs or symptoms of a potential health concern. In addition to a physical exam, you can expect an assessment of weight, blood testing to check for Heartworms, and a fecal exam. You can also discuss parasite prevention at that time and usually take home any medications you’ll use throughout the year. With annual examinations, you can routinely monitor your pet’s health and often catch and treat any concerns before they become severe.

Leash Training

Dog Check Ups

Leash training is a great way to protect your pet’s health. A dog that doesn’t know how to walk with you on a leash properly may get into more dangerous situations, such as fights or traffic, by pulling you unexpectedly whenever they see something of interest. Solid training – at any age – is a good investment in keeping your pet safe.

How Preventative Care Can Help Your Dog

The best outcome of preventative care is avoiding disease or diagnosing it early enough to catch and successfully treat any concern. Preventative health measures not only lower your dog’s risks, but it also helps them live a happy and healthier life year after year!

How Often You Should Take Your Dog to the Vet for Preventative Care

At least once a year. Scheduling an annual appointment allows your vet to assess your pet routinely and administer yearly vaccinations that help them stay safe. During an annual vet exam, you’ll also be able to test your dog for heartworms and intestinal parasites, ask questions and monitor any other symptoms or concerns.

Common Health Conditions That Can be Prevented With a Wellness Plan

You can prevent or reduce your dog’s risks for parasites, disease, and other health concerns when following preventative care protocols with your veterinarian. Routine vet visits also help you catch any problems and treat them as early as possible before they become more severe.

Schedule an Appointment With Your Vet to Talk About Preventative Care

If you’re interested in professional veterinarian advice and want to partner with Metrovet to care for your dog, click here to book an appointment today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What treatments do dogs need yearly?

Vaccinations, parasite testing, and an annual veterinary examination are essential items we recommend for any pet.

What is preventive care in pet insurance?

Preventive care for most pet insurance policies includes routine care such as annual veterinary visits, vaccinations, and other items that may be scheduled in advance, such as dental cleanings.

What monthly preventatives do dogs need?

Flea, tick, and Heartworm prevention are routine items that should be given monthly to help keep your pet safe.

Does my dog need a Heartworm pill every month?

Yes. Most Heartworm preventions are administered monthly and must be given routinely to protect your pet.

What is preventative care in veterinary medicine?

The American Veterinary Medical Association defines preventative care as “a multi-faceted approach that includes veterinary evaluation of your pet’s overall health and risks of disease or other health problems.”

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