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5 Questions Every Pet Parent Should Ask the Vet
As a pet owner, you want to ensure that your furry friend gets the best possible care. This means asking questions of your veterinarian and staying informed about your pet’s health. This article will discuss five questions that every pet parent should ask their vet. These questions will help you better understand your dog or cat’s health and ensure that they receive the best possible care.
1. “Is my pet’s weight healthy?”
Have you ever wondered if your fluffy kitty or rambunctious dog is in a healthy weight range? The yearly vet checkup provides an excellent opportunity to discuss this critical topic with the veterinarian. Whether your pup or kitty is slightly leaner or chubbier than average, it’s best for owners not simply rely on guesswork to determine their dog or cat’s weight. Weight gain can lead to pet obesity, which opens the doors to various other health diseases.
Your vet is the best resource for knowing what will work with your pet’s specific needs. For example, do you notice that they aren’t as active or have an upset stomach? It might be worth checking out their diet and exercise routine before making drastic changes like switching food brands. Your veterinarian will be familiar with your pet’s lifestyle and pet’s medical history. They can give you practical advice to help your dog or cat get in better shape.
It is essential to get the proper advice from a veterinarian during any diet transition period. They will be able to give you recommendations on what’s best for the pet’s well-being. Vets can also help prevent future problems, such as heart disease or joint stress. These conditions are often due to excess weight gain with age, resulting in costly medical bills later.
2. “What should I feed my pet?”
Most animal foods on the grocery shelves are full of processed ingredients and manufactured marketing speak. Browsing through all these options can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. To ensure the best dietary care for your furkid, you need to talk with their veterinarian.
The food selections on store shelves are just clever marketing tactics, and there isn’t such thing as an “all life stages” pet food, even though it may seem like that at first glance. All animal foods contain different nutrients depending upon what age or stage of development they’re geared towards. One type of food won’t suit every pet type or age group, and feeding your cat or dog the wrong diet can prevent them from obtaining the nutrients they need to live healthy lives.
A veterinarian who knows your dog well will offer advice and suggestions for your pet’s diet based on the pet’s body and age. With their help, you will find the right diet for your pup or kitty.
3. “How are my pet’s teeth?”
Pets are good at hiding their pain, so many owners overlook dental care issues until they become unavoidable. A veterinarian needs to examine your pet’s teeth at least once, preferably twice, yearly. Dental disease, specifically periodontal disease, affects 80% of all dogs and 70% of all cats by two years of age. It puts pets at an increased risk of developing underlying health conditions, chronic illness, and heart disease.
Several oral health problems can affect your pet’s quality and length of life. These include stinky breath, tooth decay, and a decrease in appetite, which may lead to dental disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease could result in endocarditis, an infection of the heart. A veterinarian will check for early signs of infection at the annual pet wellness exam. They will devise a treatment plan, including daily tooth brushing, professional yearly dental cleaning, or dental surgery.
4. “What vaccinations and parasite control does my cat or dog need?”
Need to know what vaccinations your cat or dog needs? The following are core vaccines that every dog and cat should have regardless of life stage or lifestyle.
For puppies and dogs
- Bordetella (“Kennel Cough”): This vaccine should be given to puppies at the 8-week or 12-week puppy veterinary visit. After the initial vaccine, a booster shot is required 3 to 5 weeks later. Dogs who spend time in kennels, dog parks, daycare, or groomers are at a higher risk of contracting bordetella and should update the vaccine every six months.
- DA2PPV (Distemper): Puppies should have their first DA2PPV vaccine at eight weeks of age, with boosters following at vet visits by the 12-week and 16-week marks. An additional booster should be given when the dog is one year old and administered by the vet every three years afterward.
For kittens and cats
- Calicivirus (FVRCP), Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, and Panleukopenia: These three vaccines should be given to kittens when they are eight weeks old, followed by boosters at 12-weeks and 16-weeks of age. Cats need another shot when they turn one year old and then every three years.
For both dogs and cats
- Rabies vaccine: This core vaccine is required by law. It is typically administered when dogs and cats turn one year old and then every three years.
Your veterinarian may recommend many noncore vaccinations for your dog or cat. Dogs often receive shots for Leptospirosis and canine influenza, while cats get shots for Feline Leukemia.
Pets vary in the needs they have for parasite control. Factors that determine these include your home environment and your pet’s lifestyle activities. For example, indoor cats are not as exposed to the dangers of parasites and pests that outdoor felines often face. This means an indoor kitty may need only a few doses over time, while those living outside will require more consistent treatments throughout their lives.
Tick and flea preventives are vital to a pet’s health to prevent Lyme disease and other types of parasitic infection. Ask your vet for their recommendations on the best parasite preventatives for your kitty or pup.
5. “What health conditions are common for my pet?”
Cats and dogs of different breeds may be more prone to some medical conditions than other pets. In veterinary medicine, vets and vet technicians repeatedly see many of the same issues. A veterinarian will likely consider what potential problems the pet may have in the future upon first meeting and examining the animal. They can discuss breed-related traits and recommend preventive measures to keep them healthy throughout life.
Because these traits may change with age and time, it’s important to revisit these concerns during your pet’s annual wellness exam. What your vet recommends can keep your pets happy and healthy as they grow older.
Bonus question: “Can you explain my bill?”
Pet parents rely on veterinarians to help them determine what will keep their pets healthy and happy. Unfortunately, veterinary advice and recommendations are not affordable for everyone. In 2020, the American Pet Products Association found that routine vet visits for cats averaged $178 per trip, while dog vet visits cost around $242. The average costs of surgeries for cats and dogs were $201 and $458, respectively.
The best veterinary clinics are transparent about their recommended treatments and associated costs to maintain a high standard of care. Don’t be afraid to speak up if the fees quoted make you uncomfortable. Let your vet know about any budget constraints to help find an affordable treatment plan that will still keep your dog or cat healthy.
Pet insurance: what vets hope pet parents have.
Many veterinarians hope that pet owners have pet insurance before bringing their dog or cat in for an examination. Primarily, they strive to prevent “economic euthanasia” when pet parents choose to euthanize their pet because treatment is too costly to afford. Each veterinary healthcare team speaks of the relief they experience when a pet owner says they have pet insurance for their dog or cat. Then, the vet and pet owner can focus on the best treatment for the pet instead of whether the owner can afford it.
That’s why pet insurance is so crucial for pet parents to purchase for their pets. Too many pet owners find themselves stuck between choosing their pet’s care or another binding obligation. With plans covering up to 90% of vet costs, pet owners can rest assured that they won’t bear the brunt of expensive bills.
Pet Insurance Review wants every pet parent to have this opportunity. We work hard to find the best plan prices for your situation. Start with a free quote today, so you won’t worry about high veterinary costs tomorrow.
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- Animal Wellness Center. (2022). Cat Breed Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.awcwi.com/cat-breed-disorders/
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The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.
The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.
We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.