Dog annual health checks
To check, or not to check, that is the question. And it’s a question every dog parent asks themselves at some point in the life of their dog. Commercial dog food companies promote the services of veterinary practices by telling you to have your dog’s health checked annually. Vets in turn promote commercial dog food companies by recommending commercial dog food as the best way to feed your best friend. Meanwhile, The Kennel Club promotes both commercial dog food companies and vets by recommending both commercial dog food and annual dog health checks. So what about the dog annual health check?
It’s all very cosy. All a little too convenient for my liking. But no one ever asks the question. Do our dogs actually need an annual health check? Is it really necessary? And if they need an annual health check, why do they need one? What has gone wrong in the last 50 years that our dogs have gone from seeing a vet once, maybe twice in their lifetime, to needing to see one once a year? And is there a connection with the fact that what little training vets have in small animal nutrition (and it is a little) is provided by commercial dog food manufacturers? Those same commercial dog food manufacturers vets promote once they’re qualitified.
If all this seems a bit incestuous, it’s because it is!
The plot thickens
The pressure is enormous. You love your dog. You want to do the best for your constant canine companion. A huge and fabulously wealthy industry has evolved with the express purpose of convincing you that your dog should have an annual health check. Vets, insurance companies, The Kennel Club, commercial dog food companies. They’re all in on it. “Annual health checks with booster vaccinations are important for your dog’s health, and can also help build your relationship with your vet,” say The Kennel Club on their website. They’re certainly important for the wealth of your vet. But the question is, are they really important for the health of your pet?
While you ponder that question, here’s a number of things to think about:
- Except in the case of the elderly, those with severe health issues or employees with work-place health schemes, human beings don’t have annual health checks. Why does your dog need one?
- Children don’t have annual health checks or annual vaccinations. Why does your dog need them?
- An annual dog health check is likely to involve revaccination with toxic chemicals which have proven to be detrimental to the health of our canine companions. How is an annual injection that is unsafe and unnecessary going to benefit anyone except your vet and the canine pharmaceutical companies who supply the drugs?
- The Kennel Club and many veterinary practices actively promote commercial dog food. Commercial dog food, especially dry dog biscuit, is known to weaken the immune system. A weakened immune system is likely to require more frequent visits to the vets. Doesn’t it seem strange that the same people who tell you to feed your dog nutritionally compromised food also tell you that you must have your dog health checked annually?
Let’s summarize all this like this. Vets are not trained in small animal nutrition. What little training they do have at university is provided by commercial dog food companies. Dry dog biscuit is known to be inherently unhealthy. It promotes inflammation, the cause of most canine health problems. This in turn necessitates more frequent vet visits.
As a canine nutritionist I can tell you that a healthy, species-appropriate diet, helps promote a strong immune system. A strong immune system means a healthy dog. A healthy dog means far less frequent visits to the vet. Which actually makes one of my dog diet plans an investment when you come to think about it. Your dog will enjoy better food. He or she will be a happier dog. And you won’t have to put yourself and your best friend through the stress of an annual dog health check. Sounds like a win, win situation to me!