Making a 12-Month Wellness Plan

Published: February 21, 2018

Academy Animal Hospital Greenwood Franklin

Do you have a year-round wellness calendar for your pet? Having one promotes pet health, keeps treatments on track, and often comes with the added bonus of cost savings. Here are some tips for making a 12-month pet wellness plan.

Team Up With Your Vet

First, tell your veterinarian that you’d like to get your pet on a year-round wellness schedule. They’re guaranteed to give this plan two thumbs up, because scheduled care is one of the top concerns for U.S. veterinary professionals.

Despite widespread publicity about the importance of well-pet visits, the frequency of visits actually dropped in the last decade. Experts attribute this to the ease of looking things up on the internet and attempting DIY solutions, which isn’t always best for pets.

Your vet can explain how often pets should visit for standard shots, prescription checks, and treatments. They can also recommend specific timing for things your individual pet needs, like weigh-ins or injury follow-ups. This ensures you have a safe, thorough plan.

Ask About Cost Savings

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends asking your vet about cost savings that might come with regularly-scheduled visits. Some vets offer significant savings if you schedule appointments far in advance or sign a contract.

For example, the AAHA points to the growing popularity of “puppy plans,” which provide a package deal on all care needed for a puppy’s first year of life, including microchipping and spay/neuter services. Or if your pet needs to lose weight, you may be able to buy a 12-month weight-management program that includes wellness visits.

Get Out Your Calendar

After visiting your vet and gathering information, it’s time to get out your calendar (or mobile phone) and plan out 12 months of wellness events. Here are some things to include.

Daily: If your pet is struggling with obesity, injury, or another persistent health issue, set a daily reminder. For example, a commitment to daily playtime supports pet weight loss.

Daily/Periodically: Depending on your vet’s advice, create a schedule for giving medication your pet needs.

Weekly: Assess your pet and note abnormal behavior that occurred during the week, like excessive scratching or licking. Bring these notes to your next vet visit.

Weekly: Groom your pet and brush its teeth. Grooming not only controls shedding, but gives you a chance to notice parasites, lumps, cuts, nail infections, and other threats to your pet’s health.

Monthly: Administer parasite prevention monthly, every few months, or annually, depending on the treatment and your vet’s recommendation.

Every Six Months: Schedule a wellness visit at least every six months, because all pets - even 100% healthy pets - need regular preventive care.

Annual Recheck: Set a date for your pet’s annual evaluation, which will help you create next year’s calendar.

Long-Term Benefits

Maintaining a 12-month plan allows you to become very familiar with the long-term health of your pet - and that’s a very good thing. Pet owners who are in tune with their pet’s status tend to seek veterinary care before something becomes an emergency.

In fact, research shows that having a written calendar or checklist makes pet owners more likely to ask their vet about critical pet health issues. One study found that a written plan sparked in-depth questions about lifestyle/infectious disease risk, fecal exams, current medications, and heartworm testing.

Ready to create a year-round pet wellness plan? Connect with Academy Animal Hospital today, and we’ll help you develop a plan for lifelong pet health.