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All responsible dog owners know that their dogs should be vaccinated against the main transmissible canine illnesses, and that booster shots are required annually to maintain the protection that your dog receives. However, your regular annual appointment with the vet encompasses much more than simply administering a shot, and also provides the opportunity for your vet to check your dog over, make sure that they are healthy, and make recommendations for your dog’s ongoing care.
Even if for some reason your dog does not receive vaccinations, the annual check-up itself is very important, and for some dogs with health conditions or that are getting on in years, more regular visits throughout the year are recommended as well. Here are ten important questions to ask your vet during your dog’s annual check up, which can help to keep your dog happy and healthy for the long term.
Your vet should weigh your dog during their annual check up, and keep a track of your dog’s weight and any changes year on year. You should also find out from your vet if your dog is within the normal healthy weight range for their breed, build and type, or if your vet recommends making any changes or monitoring their weight.
Dogs at different life stages require different types of food, and it is always valuable to discuss what you feed with your vet and see if they recommend making any changes. It is worth bearing in mind that many vets receive bonuses and benefits from certain pet food manufacturers for promoting or selling their diets above others, so bear in mind that once you have a recommendation from your vet, you will often find it cheaper to buy the food that you agree upon from another retailer.
Keeping your dog fit is of course vital for health, and it is a good idea to discuss how much exercise your dog gets and what type of exercise they have with your vet to ensure that you are ticking all of the boxes. You might expect that the most common veterinary advice on exercising would be “exercise your dog more” but if your dog is aging, your vet might actually recommend taking things more slowly, or looking at lower impact exercise regimes instead.
Most dogs should receive the whole spectrum of available vaccines and boosters, and to have these repeated on an annual basis. It is worth checking with your vet, however, exactly what vaccinations your dog receives, what is available and why they are administered, to ensure that you understand what is being given to your dog and that it is appropriate.
Get your vet to check over your dog’s teeth and gums, and see if there are any developing issues or problems that might require attention. Your vet will also be able to advise you on a good tooth and gum cleaning regime for your dog, plus offer you some tips on how to go about it!
If your dog is aging or displaying any changes in condition or temperament, your vet may recommend some basic tests such as blood or urine panels in order to get a more complete picture of what is going on internally. Not only can these tests provide an early indication if anything is amiss, but there is value in having a record of a baseline of your dog’s normal levels in order to refer back to as your dog ages.
Certain breeds and types of dogs have elevated risk factors for various health conditions, some of which will not begin to manifest until your dog is an adult or mature. Ask your vet if they think your dog might be particularly prone to any problems, and ask them to teach you about how to identify the early warning signs of any problems developing.
If your dog is aging or suffering from any health conditions, your vet may recommend that your dog returns to the surgery for check ups on a more regular basis than once a year. Find out what kind of schedule your vet recommends for your dog, and schedule appointments with this in mind.
There are many different options available for how you flea treat and worm your dog, and some merit to changing the products that you use now and again in order to avoid parasites building up an immunity to the product. Talk to your vet about the products you use at the moment, and see if they agree that this is the best course of treatment or if they recommend making any changes.
When your vet recommends a prescription product to you, you are not obliged to buy it directly from your vet, although this is often easier to do. You can request that your vet issues you with a prescription to buy your medication from another outlet, and your vet is obliged to do this and not force you to purchase their products from them. Your vet is, however, entitled to charge a reasonable fee for issuing the prescription.
Find out how your vet’s prices compare to ordering your pet meds with a prescription from somewhere else, or if the combined cost of the prescription, medication and shipping would actually exceed the cost charged by your vet for the same medication.
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