Make the Most of Your Wellness Visit
DO's and DON'Ts of a Great Visit
DO: Bring In A List of Your Questions: When heading to the grocery store, we often go with a grocery list in hand because it’s easy to forget everything we need. Shouldn’t the same be for your vet visit? We recommend keeping a journal, whether on your phone, computer or a notepad, where you jot down things that your pet does that might be a concern. Maybe a few times a month he drinks a bowl of water and throws it up. Or maybe twice a week she walks away from her breakfast without eating. It’s always better to bring up small problems before they become big problems, and writing them down can help you remember to address them at the vet’s office in a timely manner
DO: Bring a Fresh Fecal Sample: If it’s time for your pet’s annual exam, then your vet will likely run your dog or cat for an annual parasite check. If your pet is experiencing diarrhea, then we may look at the stool to determine the cause. No matter, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
DO: Ask for An Estimate: If your vet suspects a problem that may require additional diagnostics or procedures, don’t be afraid to ask for an estimate. Even if you need an estimate for parasite prevention, it's better to ask. Actually, we prefer you be up front and ask to avoid any surprises with the final bill. Everyone stands to benefit this way!
DO: Be Proactive About Your Pet’s Oral Hygiene: Most pets start to have some form of dental plaque and tartar build up after age three. For small breed dogs it seems even sooner. A thorough dental exam will be done by your veterinarian at least yearly with an annual exam. If your pet needs a professional cleaning, make that a priority, and learn how to provide at home preventative dental care to a healthy mouth by reading through our DENTAL HEALTH PAGE.
DO: Discuss Behavior Concerns: If your pet has regular episodes of anxiety, inappropriate eliminations, aggression, or anything else that concerns you, let us know! Training techniques, environmental changes, enrichment opportunities, pharmaceuticals, or even specialty behavior consults can be implimented to improve your pet's mental health as well.
DO: Take Your Pet's Weight Seriously: Studies show that thinner pets live an average of two years longer than overweight pets. With over 60% of American pets being overweight or obese, it’s a serious problem. If your veterinarian says that your pet is obese, don’t take it the wrong way, they have your pet’s best interest at heart! Ask your veterinarian for a detailed weight loss plan, discuss your pet’s diet, routine exercise, etc. By being proactive and addressing this properly, you can get your pet’s weight under control and hopefully gain a few more happy, and healthy, years together.
DON’T: Put Off Exams: Annual exams (or semi-annual for older pets) really are necessary! By having your pet examined frequently, your veterinarian can find and address minor problems early on before they turn into something major. Also, if your pet is having a problem, make the appointment sooner rather than later. You can always cancel if things clear up after a day or so. There’s nothing worse than finding out that something that could’ve been treated early on was left unaddressed for too long.
DON’T: Bring Everyone to the Vet’s Office: You love your family and friends dearly, but you often only have 30 minutes with the vet, so the fewer guests fighting for your attention, the more time you can focus on what’s important during the visit: your pet! If you do bring your kids along, make sure they’ve got something to remain entertained while mommy and daddy can hear everything the vet is saying.
DON’T: Bring In Tons of Your Own Research! While we love to see the enthusiasm, it can sometimes be misinterpreted by veterinarians as implying that you don’t trust their knowledge or experience. If you’ve done your own investigating, or sp,epme else has hinted at a potential diagnosis, feel free to bring it up to the veterinarian, but try to avoid creating a diagnosis before you walk in the office. This may bias the information and symptoms you share with your vet, and lead down a misdiagnosis. Sharing what you’ve noticed in your pet is invaluable for your vet, but remember, they’re the professionals and are usually more familiar with a long list of possible ailments your pet's symptoms point to.
DON'T: Make Friends at the Doctor: We all love our pets, and want to share and show them off! But remember, we see healthy pets as well as sick ones. Cats and small pets should be in carriers, and dogs should be on leashes. This is to keep them from interacting with each other and possibly passing communicable disease. Young and old pets may be especially at risk. Better safe than sorry! Besides health reasons, the vet is often a stressful place, and interacting with strangers can make nerves even worse for an already anxious pet.