We all know dogs live shorter lives than us humans. Calculating exact age is more complex than multiplying by seven (as the old adage goes) but that’s a whole article unto itself. Regardless of exact numbers, it’s pretty important for your dog to be seen by a veterinarian at least annually (and semi-annually for senior pets!) for a check-up. Especially, in part, because our dogs aren’t very good at telling us exactly when something is wrong.
So here are some ways to prepare for and get the most out of your pet’s annual exam!
Now it’s not uncommon for pet parents to enter the exam room and suddenly they forget all the details of any concerns they’ve had over the past year. So write it down beforehand. The time set aside for you is your best option to get those questions answered in an uninterrupted manner- you and your pet have the DVM’s undivided attention, so use it wisely- you are paying for it.
You should also come equipped with your dog’s specific info in mind or in hand. Most vets will give you a questionnaire for you to fill out beforehand with stats like diet, medications/supplements, lifestyle questions, etc.
Generally speaking, the more specific you can be, the better. While you don’t need to note the name and ingredients of every treat you’ve fed Fido, the name brand of the food is helpful. The name, dosage, and frequency of meds/supplements given. The name and frequency of any flea/parasite preventatives used. The list goes on.
But here are some questions you might not know are potentially important for the vet to know:
*Residency (locations like different states or travel)
*Exposure (off leash parks, beaches, groomers, daycare, etc.)
*Members of the household (other dogs, cats, kids, expectant moms, or immune deficient people)
Ideally, you and your vet are creating a lifelong relationship to provide the best care possible for your beloved furry friend. That way, when even subtle changes occur, they can be noted and followed up on if needed. Not all health problems are easily diagnosed or treated. Bring a stool sample to check for internal parasites. Think about blood work or other lab work in addition to the hands on exam.
While few pets, or people for that matter- enjoy going to the doctor, it is to their benefit. Your vet should try and make it as stress free as possible but you can also help with that. Our pets sense our emotions, so if you’re stressed, your pet will pick up on it. Stop in to your vet and get treats on occasion so it’s not always a “bad place”. Preventative care and medicine are your best chance of having your pet with you as long as possible!