Oceanside Animal Clinic Adult Dog Wellness Recommendations

Veterinarians recommend regular wellness exams for the same reason your physician and dentist recommend them – if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it’s more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Vaccinations, heartworm prevention and routine deworming are important components of wellness care and can prevent diseases that are not only life-threatening, but very expensive to treat.

Preventative Care At-A-Glance

Rabies and Da2PP vaccines – repeated every 3 years after initial 1 year booster
Leptospirosis and Bordetella vaccines – repeated yearly
Intestinal parasite (fecal) testing – recommended yearly
Heartworm test – recommended yearly, highly recommended if travel outside of PNW
Year-round flea, tick, and heartworm prevention (e.g. Simparica Trio or a combination of Nexgard and Interceptor Plus; Nexgard and Proheart Injection, etc)
Blood and urine testing to monitor organ function – annually starting at any age but particularly by 5-7 years
Feed a complete and balanced diet backed by feeding trials (e.g. Purina Pro Plan, Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin). We do not recommend feeding grain free diets unless your pet has a diagnosed allergy to a particular ingredient.

Please note, these recommendations are general guidelines and may change based on each pets’ individual needs and circumstances.


Even healthy dogs should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, preferably twice a year. If your dog is older or has medical problems, more frequent visits may be necessary. Physical exams can detect heart murmurs or skipped heart beats; enlarged lymph nodes; skin tumors; abdominal tumors; and enlarged or shrunken kidneys, liver, or spleen that may mean systemic disease. A look at the eyes can determine a dog’s visual capacity. An orthopedic evaluation can tell if a dog is arthritic and in need of pain medication. A dermatologic evaluation of the hair coat will determine the need for flea and tick control or diagnose skin infections (bacterial, fungal, or parasitic). Hair loss may indicate systemic disease or hormonal imbalances.

Additionally, it is important to maintain a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) in order for us to legally prescribe medications for your pet. This means coming in at least annually for your pet to have an exam with one of our veterinarians. We can then authorize any of your pet’s prescription needs (i.e., medications, prescription diets, and prescription parasiticides).

Diagnostic Testing

Since dogs cannot talk, veterinarians cannot ask them how they are feeling or what is bothering them. Plus, innate survival instincts make dogs hide illnesses so they do not appear weak or vulnerable to predators. That means thorough physical exams are crucial to keep dogs healthy. And since your veterinarian cannot see what is going on inside a dog’s body, diagnostic testing is often needed to complete the health picture. These preventive medicine steps will diagnose problems earlier making treatment more successful and less costly and, more importantly, will help your dog live a longer, healthier life.

To diagnose organ malfunctions in the early stages, blood tests (complete blood count, chemistry panel, and thyroid screen) and urinalysis should be performed annually. If problems are diagnosed, more frequent testing may be necessary
Although heartworms are more prevalent in warmer climates where mosquitoes thrive, infected dogs live in every state and in some parts of Canada. Even dogs in cold environments can get heartworms, so The American Heartworm Society advises annual heartworm blood testing. Intestinal parasites can affect both dogs and humans, so a stool sample should be analyzed at least once a year.

Dental Care

It is a well-known fact that oral health impacts a dog’s general health. Simply put, dogs with clean mouths live longer. The bacteria involved in periodontal disease do not just stay in the mouth. These organisms invade the blood stream and travel to major organs like the kidneys, liver, and heart where they cause significant health issues. Dogs may need their teeth cleaned every 1-2 years, but this frequency can vary more or less depending on a number of factors including preventive care. Regular dental cleanings will also allow your dog to keep their pearly whites in good condition.

Flea Prevention

Year-round flea prevention is recommended in this area, and there are several products we recommend based upon your preference and your pets’ needs. Topical Advantage II or Advantage Multi, or oral Nexgard or Simparica Trio may be given monthly depending on your preference. Please be sure to bring up any questions you may have regarding these products during your pet’s annual exam.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworms are important parasites that can live in the dog’s bloodstream and cause major damage to the heart and lungs that often results in death. Heartworms are transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes. While historically heartworm disease has not been a significant concern in this area, with increased travel and climate changes, we are starting to see an increase in heartworm prevalence. We therefore recommend year-round heartworm prevention and testing, especially if you will be traveling out of area with your pet.

If your pet has never been tested for heartworm, we recommend confirming negative status with an initial heartworm test, which may then be repeated annually if your pet is at risk for contracting heartworm. Heartworm is much easier to prevent than to treat, so we recommend preventatives such as Simparica Trio (monthly chewable tablet), Advantage Multi (monthly topical product), or Proheart (6-month injections) be used year-round.


Vaccinations are divided into two groups: core vaccines and non-core or optional vaccines. All dogs (without medical problems that prevent immunization) should receive vaccinations against rabies, distemper, canine parvovirus, and canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis) (offered as a combined DAPP vaccination). We also strongly recommend annual vaccination against the bacterial disease Leptospirosis, which is carried by wildlife we have in this area. Vaccination against kennel cough, or Bordetella, is also recommended for any dogs going to boarding, training, dog parks, or any other highly pet-dense areas.


We know pet foods and nutrition can be overwhelming and you have many, many choices. In general, our recommendations are to feed a commercial dog food that meets AAFCO standards and has undergone extensive feeding trials. Vetted brands include Purina Pro Plan, Hill’s Science Diet, and Royal Canin. If one of these diets is being fed exclusively, they offer a complete and balanced nutrition profile and additional vitamins/supplements are unnecessary. We also recommend feeding a “grain inclusive” diet as there has been a potential link found between “grain free” diets and dilated cardiomyopathy (heart disease) in dogs. If you have further diet/nutrition questions, we are happy to discuss in more detail.

Research has shown that leaner dogs live longer and have fewer health problems. It is important for your dog to maintain a healthy body condition. If your pet is overweight, we can discuss methods for safe weight reduction in order to improve your dog’s overall health and quality of life.

Spaying or Neutering

Spaying or neutering can have numerous health or behavior benefits. Having this surgery done can prevent infections and some types of cancer. If your pet is not already spayed or neutered, we encourage you to discuss the pros and cons of this procedure with us.

Senior Pets

It varies, but cats and small dogs are generally considered “senior” at seven years of age. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans compared to smaller breeds and are often considered senior when they are five to six years of age. Although senior pets may develop age-related problems, good care allows them to live happy, healthy and active lives in their senior years. Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet. Please talk to us about your senior pet and new diagnostic options to screen for various cancers and metabolic diseases before they can become deadly. Additionally, there are many supplements and medications available to help with common age-related issues such as mobility, weight control, cognitive dysfunction, and digestive issues.

Emergency Care

We do our best to be available to our clients via phone after hours in case of emergency or urgent medical questions. If something urgent comes up after a vaccine appointment or routine surgery, please call our main phone line and listen to the voicemail in order to get the number of the doctor on call. You may be prompted to leave a message, in which case one of us will get back to you as soon as possible. We will always try to triage and help in any way we can, but we may not always have the capability/facilities to help in every emergency situation. Therefore, it is important to keep on hand the numbers of veterinary ERs in the surrounding areas, such as Tanasbourne Veterinary Emergency (503) 629-5800, Olympia Pet Emergency (360) 455-5155 , Dove Lewis Portland (503) 228-7281 , and Pacific Northwest Pet ER Vancouver (360) 635-5302.

If you have questions or concerns, please call us at 360 642 2232 or visit our website www.oceansideveterinary.com