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At-a-glance summary

  • Life stage divisions offer a framework for individualized care.
  • Consider age, size and breed when defining a dog’s life stage.
  • Conduct a physical exam and obtain a complete patient history, using the protocol, algorithm, and checklists in this toolkit.
  • Evaluate the need for parasite control and vaccination.
  • Create individual recommendations based on the dog’s breed and circumstances.
  • Routine tests are particularly important for mature, senior, and geriatric patients.
  • Discuss normal behavior and socialization, problem behaviors, and lifestyle.
  • Perform a nutritional assessment.
  • Perform a dental/oral exam.
  • Test for and provide preventive care for geographically relevant zoonotic diseases.
  • Discuss reproduction and breeding.
  • Conduct breed-specific disease screening and evaluations.
  • Review related AAHA Guidelines for detailed information about nutritional assessment, vaccinations, dental care, senior care, and more.