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Canine life stage health checklist for young adult

Based on the 2019 AAHA Canine Life Stage Guidelines, this printable checklist for young adult dogs will help streamline your wellness appointments without skipping any important steps in individualizing your canine patients’ care.

When should my dog be spayed or neutered

The timing of neutering or spaying a dog used to be straight forward. Emerging data is suggesting that there are benefits to taking a more individualized approach to the age at which is this surgery is performed.

Minimum databases for life stages

Routine tests such as the minimum database may be helpful for the wellness evaluation of any age dog, but are particularly important for the mature, senior, and geriatric patient, allowing early dedtection of disease or trends in clinical or laboratory parameters that may be of concern.    

Behavior awareness

Developmental periods do not start and end abruptly, but rather phase in and out gradually. A checklist of items to discuss with each client based on life stage is available.


The veterinary team is the preferred source of nutritional information and has a key role in advising clients about the quality and safety of food and supplements, especially with recurrent food safety issues and misinformation about canine diets.

Dental care

With appropriate care, oral and dental disease and the associated pain may be either prevented or minimized. With so many dogs affected, dental care must be incorporated into each dog’s wellness plan and discussed at every visit.

Zoonotic disease

Veterinarians play a crucial role in protecting dogs, their families, and the public. Routine testing to screen healthy pets for zoonotic disease or shared disease (e.g., tick-borne illness) may allow early detection in people by acting as a sentinel for family health.


Safety hazards vary with life stage and lifestyle, as well as with impairments of mobility, hearing, or sight. Guide the client in identifying and evaluating the potential for hazards, including:

Reproductive health

At the initial puppy visit, discuss the dog’s reproductive future. Monitor older dogs for neoplasms of the reproductive organs.

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