If you have a dog, you’ll definitely find yourself having to take your dog to the vet as there are some common reasons why it is important to take your dog to the vet for a regular check up.

While some problems are very obvious, others can go unnoticed and can lead to a much larger problem if they are left untreated for too long.

Annual visit

Unfortunately our four legged friends age much faster than we do, with one human year being roughly equivalent to seven dog years.

This is why an annual visit to the vet’s is so important – you’re able to keep the vaccination booster up to date and your vet is also able to perform a full examination on your pooch to rule out any sources of pain or ill health that need addressing.

Skin and ear issues

Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) and otitis (inflammation of the ear canal) are very common. They are often seen together and occur more commonly in Spring and Summer when many owners take their dog to the vet.

Causes are numerous, ranging from food allergies to airborne allergies (atopy) and, whilst treatment is initially aimed at resolving any infection (with antibiotics), and reducing irritation (with anti-inflammatories), the real long term solution involves the vet working with the owner to determine the underlying cause.

This is often an arduous, drawn out process but well worth it in the end. Symptoms include itching, licking, red or smelly skin and for otitis head shaking or tilting of the head.

Anal Glands

These little sacks are located at the entrance of your dog’s bottom. They are supposed to empty when compressed (lovely as it sounds…) by a stool, marking the stool with a signature scent for any other doggy passers by to acknowledge.

If the gland doesn’t empty completely, it becomes impacted or overfull and that’s when you see your usually civilised pooch scoot past you to empty the gland. This usually does the trick, but when it doesn’t, the gland can develop an abscess.

Persistent scooting does mean you should take your dog to the vet for manual emptying of the gland before an abscess can develop. In more severe cases we may recommend surgical removal of the glands.

Diarrhoea and Vomiting

Due to their eating habits, it isn’t usual for dogs to have the occasional bout of diarrhoea or vomiting. However, if these symptoms persist for longer than a day, or occur in the very young or elderly they should be taken straight to the vet’s.

A full workup will be undertaken to determine the cause, level of dehydration and pain assessed and, if necessary, the patient will be admitted to hospital for IVF, antibiotics and pain relief.

Blood tests may be recommended to rule out pancreatitis which, if left untreated, can be potentially fatal.

Prevention of basic gastro can be difficult, but keeping up to date with intestinal worming, feeding a good quality diet; and avoiding scavenging behaviour on walks can go a long way towards reducing the incidence.

Pet insurance cover 

Having pet insurance for your dog can help protect you and your dog over its life from unexpected incidents. Additional  cover for general vet visits is usually an optional extra.  For more more information about pet insurance visit HIF.


Dr Melissa Meehan is a highly experienced and respected veterinary surgeon with over 14 years experience. Dr Melissa obtained her Members in Small Animal Medicine through examination in 2008 and now runs her own veterinary ophthalmology service. www.vetophthalmology.com.au