Owning a pet is a lot of responsibility. Not only is adopting a pet a lifetime commitment to provide food, shelter, love and care to a furry, scaly or feathered friend, but there are other concerns as well. Taking care of your pet’s health can be a lot more difficult than taking care of a person. Pets can’t tell you when they are hurting or not feeling well, so regular vet check-ups are very important to ensure that they aren’t sick or experiencing pain or anxiety.
To help ensure the health and happiness of your pet, here is a list of the top ten questions you should ask your South Coast veterinarian on your next visit. Asking these questions – and heeding your vet’s answers to them – can go a long way toward helping your pet to live a long and healthy life.
#1 – Am I feeding my pet the most appropriate type and brand of food for his size, age and breed?
There are lots of different pet foods available on the market today, ranging from specialized formulas for weight and age, activity level, sensitivities to ingredients and much more. Write down the brand, product name and amount of food that you are feeding your pet so you will have all the information your vet needs to assess your pet’s diet and make a proper recommendation when you go for regular vet check-ups.
#2 – Is my pet due for any shots or vaccines and how often should she/he receive them?
Depending on the type of animal you have, the area that you live and the lifestyle or activity of your pet, you may need more or less vaccines than other pet owners. For example, dogs that go to dog parks are much more exposed to viruses and other potential hazards than dogs that live primarily indoors. Keep a record of your pet’s vaccines and schedule appointments to keep their shots up to date in the future.
#3 – Is it okay to give my pet treats? How many and how often are they okay?
Pets are great little beggars. It doesn’t matter if you have a dog, a cat, a lizard or a hamster, they all know what to do to get their owners to give them a treat. Treats can be okay, and are often used as incentives in training, but the type of treat and the frequency of the treat should be evaluated to ensure that your pet is in proper health. Again, write down the brand and type of treat you give and monitor your frequency so you can discuss this with your South Coast veterinarian.
#4 – Should I feed raw or cooked foods to my pet?
Again, depending on the type of pet you have, you will need to either give a cooked or raw food diet. Some groups advocate raw foods because they believe them to be healthier, but when it comes to feeding raw meats, this can sometimes be dangerous. To avoid potential health hazards for your or your pet, ask your veterinarian about issues like this to ensure you are providing the safest type of nutrition.
#5 – How often should I bring my pet to Anchor Animal Hospital?
Regular vet check-ups are important and each pet needs a different schedule for check-ups depending on his or her age, health and other unique needs. Most healthy pets only need to visit Anchor Animal Hospital on an annual basis. However, if shots are needed in-between visits or if your pet takes a prescription for a specific condition, other regular vet check-ups might need to be scheduled.
#6 – Should I get my pet spayed or neutered?
It is important to get dogs and cats spayed or neutered to reduce the number of animals that are abandoned by their owners and killed in shelters each year. Your South Coast veterinarian can provide you with the information you will need to make an educated decision about spaying or neutering your pet. Depending on the breed, age, health, lifestyle and type of pet this may or may not be recommended.
#7 – Is it important to get my pet microchipped in case they get lost or are stolen?
The answer to this question will depend greatly on your pet’s and his or her unique situation. Use of microchipping is becoming more and more widely used by pet owners as another way of protecting their pets and identifying them if they become lost. Speak with your vet for more information about microchipping and to determine whether this is an option for your pet.
#8 – What kind of toys should I get for my pet – are there any I should stay away from?
Toys are designed for use by pets based upon their age, size and breed. For example, dogs that are “extreme chewers” should never play with toys that are designed for puppies or animals don’t have a strong bite. Pets should never play with toys unsupervised to prevent them from chewing or swallowing materials that could obstruct their airway or cause intestinal problems. Speak with your vet about breed-appropriate toys for your pet.
#9 – Are there any breed specific illnesses or proclivities that I should know about regarding my pet?
Some breeds are more prone to illness or disabilities than others. When adopting a pet, you should take these into consideration. Speak with your vet about your pet so you can be aware of any issues, illnesses or problems that might occur. Some issues can be avoided through proper diet and medical treatment, while others can be treated through special therapies, such as veterinary acupuncture or massage.
The #10 question on this list is anything that you are concerned about regarding your pet.
If you are worried about any behaviors, such as separation anxiety, food aggression, loss of appetite or anything that is out of the ordinary, make sure to speak with your South Coast veterinarian about it as soon as possible. When it comes to your pet’s health, any question you have about your pet’s well-being is important.
Visit Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Anchor serves pets and pet owners throughout the South Coast region, including eastern Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. They take care of a wide variety of animals, including cats, dogs, reptiles, pocket pets and much more. Give them a call today to set up an appointment to get your pet on a schedule of regular vet check-ups.