Preventive Care Recommendations for Dogs

Comprehensive Physical Exam and Consultation

The physical exam is the most important part of preventive care for dogs. This process includes weighing your dog, assigning a Body Condition Score, pain scoring and completing a comprehensive head-to-tail exam. We will also address any behavior changes and discuss any problems you may have noticed since the last examination. Preventive care exams are recommended every six months, but should never be less frequent than once every 12 months.


Even though we don’t recommend vaccines every year, they’re still an important part of your dog’s overall preventive care program. Your dog’s vaccine protocol will be tailored specifically to his or her life stage, lifestyle, and medical condition.

  • DHPP – a core vaccine recommended for all dogs. Protects your pet from distemper, hepatitis (canine adenovirus type II), parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
  • Rabies – a core vaccine recommended and required by law for all dogs. Protects pets and people from rabies, an incurable fatal disease that can be passed from animals to people.
  • Bordetella – a non-core vaccine recommended for Socialites–dogs that visit dog parks, groomers, and daycare or boarding facilities–as well as any dog that has the opportunity to roam unsupervised. Protects against kennel cough, a highly-contagious respiratory disease affecting dogs.
  • Leptospirosis – a non-core vaccine recommended for Outdoor Enthusiasts–dogs who work or play off leash outdoors, particularly those that may come into contact with wildlife, livestock, or water sources used by these animals. Dogs that swim at dog parks and other public parks may also benefit from vaccination. Protects against Leptospira sp.,  bacteria that are transmitted by water contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Leptospirosis causes severe, life-threatening kidney and liver disease. It can also be transmitted from infected dogs to people.

Semi-Annual Deworming

Along with the Centers for Disease Control and the Companion Animal Parasite Council, we recommend regular deworming of all pets to protect people. Since Arizona’s hot dry climate is tough on intestinal parasites we recommend this be done twice a year. The medication we use eliminates parasites that your pet can spread to the rest of the family–two legs or four!

Annual Intestinal Parasite Screening

Broad spectrum dewormers can’t kill every parasite your dog could be exposed to. Annual intestinal parasite screening helps detect parasites that aren’t affected by regular deworming and checks to make sure that deworming was successful. Screening checks dogs for Giardia and coccidia, which are both common in Arizona. Even though they don’t harm people, they can cause diarrhea, cramping, weight loss and other problems in pets.

Annual Heartworm Testing

Every year we diagnose at least a few cases of heartworm disease in dogs. This preventable disease is caused by a parasite spread by mosquitoes. The American Heartworm Association recommends testing dogs for heartworm every year and we agree–whole-heartedly! Annual testing of dogs on monthly preventatives screens for breaks in treatment and satisfies drug manufacturer requirements for the guarantee on the preventative.

Annual Lab Screening

One in 10 pets that look healthy on the outside have abnormal lab test results. We recommend annual lab screening for all dogs to make sure they’re as healthy on the inside as they appear during their physical examination. Normal test results are great news, and they become a “baseline” that we use to help recognize subtle changes and intervene early–before a dangerous and potentially-expensive health crisis occurs.

Monthly Heartworm Prevention

Arizona’s mild winters mean mosquitoes are active all year, so we recommend year-round heartworm prevention for all dogs. Modern preventives provide monthly protection against intestinal parasites your dog can transmit to people, too.

We offer chewable heartworm preventatives from manufacturers we trust at competitive prices. When used as recommended, the effectiveness of these preventives is backed by the manufacturer. Heartworm preventatives should be given on the same day every month to prevent heartworm infection and the need for additional testing during the year.

Microchip Identification

Microchips identify your dog even if he or she isn’t wearing a collar, helping to reunite your family if your dog is ever lost. Microchips save lives; they can truly make a life-or-death difference if you dog is ever injured while lost and presented to an emergency clinic or shelter.