Just like people, dogs benefit from regular preventive medical attention. High-quality preventive care includes regular comprehensive assessments of the pet's baseline health, which a veterinarian then uses to develop ongoing plans for daily care and disease prevention. Veterinarians typically recommend such visits once a year as a chance to assess the dog's internal and external systems as well as daily habits such as nutrition, exercise, and dental hygiene.
The annual visit may also include vaccination or re-vaccination for a particular illness, depending on the dog's vaccination schedule. Most veterinarians recommend a schedule of vaccinations for rabies, distemper, and canine adenovirus-2. However, some dogs may be candidates for vaccines against other viruses, including those that cause kennel cough and Lyme disease. Veterinarians can recommend the proper vaccines for an individual dog.
Canine preventive care also includes regular heartworm testing and prevention. The American Heartworm Society recommends this once per year, even for dogs that are on a preventive medication. Some dogs may also require regular testing and prevention for intestinal parasites, depending on their medical history and risk of exposure to such parasites.