Just like having a regular GP, it's worthwhile building an open and honest relationship with your vet. Your pet's check-ups might seem tedious – and expensive – especially when your pet appears to be in perfect health, but they're an important part of their preventative care. Here are the questions you should ask at your vet to get the most from your appointments.
1. How often should I take my pet to the vet?
For many, this will be once a year, but depending on the type, breed, age and general health of your pet, your vet can advise you best. Knowing how often you should visit will not only allow you to give your pet the best care, but will also help you budget for expenses.
2. Is my pet overweight?
It may be a sensitive question, but it is an important one. We shouldn't normalise pets being overweight, nor underestimate the health implications, which include a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory difficulties, cancer, joint problems, diabetes and many more.
3. How much exercise does my pet need?
It sounds like a simple enough question – but a number of factors, beyond their age and breed, will require a more specialised answer, including new medical conditions, medications, their weight and any recent injuries.
4. What should I feed my pet?
Nutrition is incredibly important to the health of your pet, so it's worth checking in with your vet to ensure that their current diet is meeting all their nutritional needs. Be cautious of words like 'natural' and 'real meat' (they don't always mean what we assume they do) and always check their food's salt and sugar content.
5. Are my pet's teeth and gums healthy?
Most of us don't think twice about brushing our teeth and flossing every day, or attending our yearly dental appointments, but our pet's dental health sometimes slips under the radar. Ask your vet to check their teeth and gums – and, if you don't already have a regular brushing routine, ask for their advice. This is important for helping to prevent the build-up of tartar, which leads to periodontal disease (the name given to all diseases of the gums and the structures that support the teeth).
Ensure you have a routine in place for your pet's dental health.
Joanna Dyer is a content writer and editor at Healthspan.