To get the most out of every trip to the vet, you’ll find that preparing questions can make each visit to the vet more successful and informative. One of our major responsibilities as a pet owner is to make sure our pet is kept healthy. Keeping up with vaccinations and vet check-ups can be crucial to your pet’s well-being. Below is a checklist of what you might want to keep in mind when visiting your vet.
1. “HOW’S MY DOG’S WEIGHT?”
This question is important at any age, because a healthy weight is so important for a healthy dog. Still, weight loss or weight gain can be a symptom of age-related diseases like Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, bladder stones, congestive heart failure, and diabetes. Even if your dog’s weight change isn’t related to a disease, a healthy weight can still affect cardiovascular, bone, and joint health.
2. “HOW’S MY DOG’S FOOD?”
Decoding pet-food labels can be tough, and sometimes picking up a dog food from the “senior” or “puppy” section isn’t enough to meet your dog’s needs. If you bring in your dog’s food bag, your vet will be able to assess whether your food meets your dog’s health needs or not.
3. “WHAT VACCINATIONS ARE APPROPRIATE FOR MY DOG?”
Did you know that your dog needs to get vaccinations their whole life?? The best vaccination plan is one that you discuss with your vet so you can tailor it to you dog’s age, health needs, and lifestyle.
4. “HOW ARE MY DOG’S TEETH AND EARS?”
Did you know that periodontal disease is the number one ailment to affect senior dogs? For this reason, it’s very important that you take preventative measures and talk with your veterinarian about your dog’s dental health from day one.
Ear infections are the second most common issue that vets see in their offices. Asking your veterinarian to inspect your dog’s ears will prevent any hearing damage that an ear infection might cause, by catching the ear infection early enough for successful intervention. Additionally, hearing your vet check your dog’s ears will ensure that your dog’s hearing is still strong.
5. “DOES MY DOG NEED A SUPPLEMENT?”
After your vet has assessed the state of your dog’s health, they will be able to determine which, if any, supplement is right for your dog. For instance, joint supplements can significantly increase your dog’s comfort level if they’re struggling with arthritis. Rather than have you pick and choose, your vet may be able to recommend you a specific supplement that more closely suits to your dog’s needs.
6. HOW MUCH FOOD DOES MY DOG NEED?
Each pet food is different and each pet is different. Keep in mind that the amount of food fed depends on your pet’s lifestyle and metabolism — if you compare two identical healthy pets, the more active pet will need more food.
7. WHAT’S THE SCOOP ON FLEA, TICK, AND HEARTWORM MEDICINE?
Where you live and your lifestyle will determine your pet’s individual medication plan, however your vet will have the best idea of what that plan should be.
8. HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BATH MY DOG?
Bathing your dog more than once a week could cause dry skin. Make sure to inquire about how often you should bath your dog and if they have any recommendations on shampoos.
9. AM I EXERCISING MY DOG ENOUGH?
Along with feeding a healthy diet and maintaining good behavior, physical activity is key to a long and happy life. Tell your vet (truthfully) how much (or how little) you exercise your dog. Your vet isn’t there to judge you; they’re there to help!
10. WHO, WHAT, WHEN, HOW?
How to contact the staff if your pet has an emergency? Whether they offer after-hour emergency appointments? If they can give you contact information for local emergency clinics and poison control? How you should contact them (phone, text, or email) with questions that aren’t urgent?