November 09, 2020 4 min read

Owning a pet comes with its share of responsibilities, including regular veterinary visits. By taking your companion animal to the doctor regularly, you can maintain his or her overall health and prevent the development of diseases or ailments.

Most of the time, your pet’s veterinary team will ask a series of important questions pertaining to your pet’s health (diet, weight, behavior, etc), but in order to make the most out of your visit, you should have questions of your own as well. Here are six good questions to ask a veterinarian during your pet’s next visit. 

#1- Is my pet’s behavior normal?

Just like people, companion animals have quirks that make them unique. However, if a certain pet behavior strikes you as odd, it’s worth asking your veterinary professional about why the animal might behave in this way. Because certain behaviors can indicate health issues, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Most of the time, you’ll find that a pet’s peculiar behavior is not harmful, but it’s wise to be vigilant. Keep a list of behaviors written down between vet visits so that you can put your mind at ease about the way your pet acts at home. Note when the behavior started, how long the pet has been acting this way, and any possible triggers for it.

#2- Does my pet need a dental cleaning?

Dental diseases are not at all  uncommon in companion animals, so if your pet’s teeth appear discolored or the animal’s breath smells unpleasant, it’s a good idea to bring up dental cleaning services with your pet’s healthcare provider. In companion animals over three years old,4 out 5 dogs and 7 out of 10 cats have some degree of tooth or gum disease. 

Routine dental cleanings can greatly improve your pet’s oral health and some veterinary offices have what is called “dental months” where a given month is dedicated to discounted dental services. By taking advantage of dental months, you can maintain your pet’s oral health and save money at the same time.

#3- Are there parasite prevention medications available for my pet?

Parasites are a serious problem, not only because they make companion animals sick, but because many parasites are zoonotic (meaning they can be passed from animals to humans). Children can be particularly vulnerable to parasitic infection, so in order to protect them from illness, it is wise to start with your pets. 

Heartworms are one of the most devastating parasites for both cats and dogs, though there is a wide array of additional parasites that can cause sickness in animals. To help protect your pet, talk to your veterinarian about possible preventive measures. By placing your companion animal on a parasite prevention medication, you’re not only protecting that pet, but you’re also reducing the spread of infection in other animals and your family members.

#4- How does pet insurance work? Do I need it?

Because more and more people are seeking veterinary services to help maintain the health of their pets, insurance companies offer pet health coverage. Much like human health insurance, pet insurance can help cover some of the costs associated with animal medical care. 

To learn more about pet insurance, whether you need it for your pet, and what type of plan would best suit your needs, talk with your veterinarian. Animal medical professionals can usually offer advice about pet insurance and make company recommendations.

#5- Does my pet need a special diet?

Many pets have sensitive digestive systems, and some can be allergic to either wheat, corn, or soy. If you notice that your pet has been licking their paws, scratching their ears, or experiencing gas, it might be time to discuss dietary options with your veterinarian.

Because the science behind pet food has developed significantly in the past couple of decades,there are food options for almost any kind of dietary need your pet may have. 

Ask a veterinarian about the different food options available for your pet to determine which is the best choice for your companion animal.

#6- Would my pet benefit from grooming?

Basic hygiene is important for companion animals (bathing, clipping nails) but some breeds stand to benefit from more advanced grooming. For animals with long or wiry coats, regular visits to a professional groomer might do well to help keep the animal as clean as possible. 

Like humans, animals with long or wiry hair can have it become tangled very easily, and tangled fur can not only be unpleasant, but it can also lead to health issues. 

If you’d like to visit a professional groomer, ask a veterinarian for recommendations. Some offices even offer in-house grooming services.

Good pet owners are often concerned about their companion animal’s health and behavior, and because of this, a reputable veterinarian is always prepared to listen to and answer questions related to an animal’s well-being. Should any of your questions need an emergency response, contact your pet’s veterinary office right away.