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The Top 5 Questions You Should Ask Your Vet at Your Annual Visit

As responsible pet parents, you understand the importance of preventive medicine and annual wellness visits. To make the most of these visits, the team at Best Friends has developed a list of the top 5 questions you should ask your vet during your next visit.

Top Questions to Ask Your Vet

1. Am I feeding my pet the right food for their age or medical issues?

Choosing the right diet is one of the simplest and most important things you can do to improve and maintain your pet’s health. Different diets are formulated specifically for different ages and lifestyles. For example, there are weight management diets for overweight pets (a VERY common problem) as well as diets for pets with skin allergies. There are also diets made to help pets that have specific medical issues such as kidney disease or intestinal disease. Your veterinarian can help you decide which diet is best for your pet’s needs.

2. Are there any blood tests that my pet should have performed routinely?

In addition to annual tests for heart worm and intestinal parasites, your veterinarian may recommend some other tests such as a complete blood count (CBC), chemistry panel, urinalysis, or thyroid level. This recommendation may depend on your pet’s age – senior pets should have these tests done every year as part of their wellness exam. These tests may also be recommended if there are any problems you are seeing at home such as an increase in thirst or urination, a decrease in appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea. These tests help look for issues such as anemia, liver disease, kidney disease, or other metabolic problems.

3. Is my pet overweight?

Obesity is a common problem that we see every day among our pets. Just like with people, diet and exercise play an important part in keeping them healthy. If your dog is overweight, your veterinarian may recommend a specific weight loss diet or give you recommendations on how much food you should be feeding. Depending on their health, your vet can also recommend an exercise plan – more walking, time spent at a dog park, etc. For kitties, new cat toys or food puzzles that encourage playing, running, and jumping may be helpful in increasing their activity.

4. Are there any vaccines or preventive medications we need based on our lifestyle?

Vaccines, especially in young animals, are critical in helping decrease the risk of our pets becoming sick. Which vaccines your pet needs and how often they need them, will depend on factors such as age, health status, and lifestyle. The same is true for things such as flea and tick preventive. For example, dogs that hunt or spend a lot of their time outdoors, may have an increased risk of tick exposure. Routine heart worm prevention is also crucial and should be given year round.

5. How are my pet’s teeth and what can I do to keep them healthy?

Dental care is often one of those things gets overlooked by many pet parents, but it is also an important part of keeping our pets healthy. Just as in people, dental disease can lead to chronic inflammation in the body, infections, and pain and tooth loss that can affect appetite and quality of life. Your veterinarian can assess your pet’s dental health and let you know if a dental cleaning is recommended. They can also show you how to brush your pet’s teeth at home and what products to use to keep their teeth healthy.

Remember, this is YOUR time with your veterinarian so ASK QUESTIONS. As a proactive pet parent, you can help your vet and the veterinary team keep all of your furry family members happy and healthy.



Happy National Puppy Day!

A big shout out to all of the puppies out there… We Love You!

Happy National Puppy Day!

Tags: Cute, Dog stories, Dogs, Pet Events, Pet info, Pets, Puppies

It’s Spring! Time to Start Thinking About Fleas and Ticks…

Happy Spring! Can you believe that spring has officially begun? Time for spring cleaning, changing the batteries in the smoke alarms, and time to start thinking about spending some more time outdoors. Depending on where you live, this means that our furry family members will be outside more and will be exposed to those pesky fleas and ticks. Fortunately, as a responsible pet parent, you are going to be proactive about their protection.

As you may know, there are A LOT of flea and tick products out there. Your veterinarian and the veterinary team are your best resource in determining which product is the best for your particular needs. They can also help you make sure that the product is labeled for use in dogs or cats and that it is the right strength based on your pets weight and age.

If you are going to use a topical product, be sure to follow the label directions carefully. Your veterinary team can also help show you how to apply these if you’ve never used them before. Be sure to wash your hands after applying and don’t let children or other pets play with the pet until the product has been completely absorbed and the area is dry. If you have multiple pets in the house, it may be easiest to treat them all at once and then put them all is separate rooms until the medication is absorbed into the skin.

If you live in a house with both dogs and cats, you may think that you can use the same flea and tick products for both. DON’T! Cats are actually very sensitive to many of the medications that are used in dog flea and tick products so if you use a dog product on a cat, you can make them VERY sick (these intoxications can sometimes even be fatal).

The flea and tick products that are prescribed by a veterinarian have been extensively tested for safety and efficacy. Sometimes however, an individual animal can have an unexpected response. If you are using a flea and tick product for the first time on your pet, be sure to keep an eye on them for a few hours following application. If you see any vomiting, lethargy, difficulty walking, etc., call your veterinarian right away for advice and bathe your pet with warm water and soap to remove any residual product.

Using flea and tick preventives not only protects our pets against rashes, itching, and hair loss but they are also critical in protecting our furry family members against life-threatening infections that are transmitted by these pests. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian today to ensure that your pet is protected.

To find a Best Friends affiliated veterinary hospital near you, click here.

Tags: Ask the Vet, Cats, Dog safety, Dogs, Health, Pet advice, Pet behavior, Pet health, Pet info, Pets, Tips, Vet
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