Whether you’re visiting the vet for the first time with your pet or visiting for a routine checkup, it’s important to ask your veterinarian questions. Knowing everything you can do for your pet’s care is essential to being a responsible pet owner. Your pet is a member of your family, so getting routine veterinary checkups is important to ensure nothing is wrong and your pet is healthy.
Whether you have a cat, dog, rabbit, or bird, here are the top five questions to ask your veterinarian during your next visit.
- How Much Exercise Should My Pet Get?
Animals, just like humans, need exercise. Animals need to have interactions with people and other animals, playtime, and time to do as they please. Exercise is an important regimen for any animal. Ask your veterinarian how much exercise your pet should be getting. The amount of exercise will depend on the health of your pet, the age, and how much he or she is confined during the day. Active dogs need plenty of playtime while rabbits may only need a few play sessions throughout the day. Make sure to ask your vet this question so you know what the minimum and maximum amounts of exercise your pet should get are.
- Is There Anything to Be Concerned About?
Your veterinarian should do a full exam on your pet. This should take several minutes and your vet should check out everything on your pet’s body—fur, ears, feet, nails, etc. If you have any concerns about your pet or his or her health, now is the time to ask. Otherwise, if your veterinarian says everything is ok, ask if there’s anything to be concerned about. There might be a skin discoloration or a little more ear itching than normal. Ask your vet if you should have concerns about your pet as he or she ages or potential signs you can watch out for that may indicate a more serious condition.
- What Should I Feed My Pet?
Going to the store and picking up the first bag of dog food you see won’t cut it. Your pet is unique and special. Not every dog or cat or rabbit is the same. You’ll need to ensure your pet is getting the best nutrition. There are many brands of dog and cat food out there. Choosing the best for your pet isn’t easy. Talk to your veterinarian about what your pet should eat. Remember, animals can react to certain foods just like people.
- Should I Be Brushing My Pet’s Teeth?
If you have a rabbit or a bird, you don’t need to be brushing your pet’s teeth, especially if their diets are ideal. For dogs and cats, it can be a little different. Ask your vet what you can be doing to take care of your animal’s dental health. Many pets experience periodontal disease just like humans do. This could mean your pet will be in pain from tooth decay and need to have extractions done. The best measures are preventive measures, so ask your vet what you can be doing to ensure your pet’s dental health. For some pet owners, this may involve brushing your pet’s teeth!
- Is This Behavior Normal?
If your animal has a particular behavior that you’ve noticed, ask your vet about it. Animals’ only way of communicating with humans is through their behavior. Your pet may be trying to tell you something, or he or she could just have an odd quirk. Your pet will benefit from your attention to him or her, and you can ask the vet for help and guidance when it comes to any odd or mysterious behaviors. Mike Maddux, DVM of Nipper’s Corner Pet Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, explains how important it is to relay information to your vet. “It’s amazing how often I can tell you an animal is in pain or not feeling well just from a change in behavior. A cell phone video is an even better tool if unsure about a behavior.”
Veterinarians are extremely knowledgeable and have years of experience caring for animals. Asking your vet questions and providing them with information about your pet gives your vet insight into your pet’s health. The more they know, the better they can help you. Ask your veterinarian these top five questions during your next visit—your pet will thank you!