Five Questions to Ask Your Vet for Your Pet’s Annual Exam

1. How can I help prevent dental disease in my pet?

Many of us know by now that we should be doing something to help prevent tartar and gingivitis in our animals, but still all of us do it.  During your exam, I would love to know what techniques you’ve tried already: be it dental treats, chews, rinses, sprays, or brushing.  What you’ve had relative success with, what was an absolute disaster (funny stories are a plus!), how often you do it, and if you’ve noticed any improvement.  In return for this information, I can give you tips, tricks, and demos for certain techniques, as well as possible alternatives.

2. Is my pet over-weight?

In today’s society, obesity is not only a problem in humans, but also in our pets.  And, just like in people, this can be a difficult subject to broach.  Nobody wants to be told that their animal is overweight.  We love our animals, and most of us spoil them like we would never spoil a child.  And how do we do this?  WITH FOOD!  There is no question that giving treats helps re-enforce that human-animal bond.  But what most people don’t realize is that most pets will be just as happy with the tiniest morsel of a treat, as with a big slab of beef.  In your exam I can further discuss how to score your pet’s “Body Condition”, give you tips and trick on weight loss, as well as outline a personalized weight-loss plan for your pet.  We also have a no-charge, weight-watchers-like program called “Slim Fit” for pets.  All you have to do is ask!

3. What should I expect as my pet ages?

Age is NOT a disease!  But our pets are more likely to develop certain conditions as they age, and since it happens so gradually, these signs can be quite subtle.

–       Less playful

–       Bad breath or drooling

–       New lumps or changes in coat

–       Restless

–       Shaking tremors

–       Disoriented/confused

–       Change in appetite

–       Drinking/peeing more often

–       Weight change

–       Changes in behavior

–       Trouble climbing stairs/furniture

4. What kind of food/treats should I feed my pet?

It seems today, that pet foods follow the trends in the human food markets.  For instance: you can now find anything from raw, gluten-free, corn-free, grain-free, vegetarian, to breed-specific diets.  This is essentially a brilliant marketing ploy, playing on our love for our animals and wanting to provide them with the best food possible.  There is not one type of food that is best for all animals. My general rule of thumb is that as long as your pet is eating well, at a good body condition, having formed, regular BMs, not vomiting and has no pre-existing health conditions then you’re probably feeding the right food for your pet.

***Please remember to always supervise you dog while they chew on their treats/bones/rawhides as these can be choking hazards.

5. Ask about any changes in behavior or energy level since your last exam.

As valuable as a good physical exam can be, it cannot replace a complete history from you, the owner/pet parent.  Any changes in eating habits, energy level, socialization, vocalization, aggression, and even the pitch of a dog’s bark or cat’s meow, can indicate an underlying condition.  So, please make sure to mention any change in your pet’s behavior, no matter how trivial you think it may be.