If your dog is about to visit the vet for the first time, you may be wondering what questions you need to ask. A first vet visit can be overwhelming, so if you think of a question, it is a great idea to write it down. There are many considerations to keep in mind: vaccinations, neutering, and general health, for example.
We have compiled eight questions you should ask your dog’s healthcare team. Your vet’s answers will get you started on the right foot with your new best friend.
“What Vaccines Should My Dog Get?”
If you are a first-time dog owner, it is important to know which vaccines you should get and how often. Vaccines help keep your dog healthy and prevent them from developing deadly diseases, such as canine distemper and certain forms of kennel cough.
There are initial vaccines to get when your dog is a puppy, or there may be boosters your dog needs if he is older. Some vaccines need multiple doses to be effective. Your vet can give you a schedule for when your canine will need to get their vaccines, how often, and which ones are considered “optional.”
“How Much Exercise Should My Dog Get?”
Another question you may want to ask your vet is how much exercise your dog needs. Your dog’s breed, age, and weight will dictate how much your pup needs to get moving. Obese dogs may need a more intensive exercise schedule. Your vet can help you develop an exercise routine that best suits your dog’s needs.
You can also ask about the ideal weight for your dog. Small, medium, and large dogs will have different indicators of an ideal weight, so your vet can help you understand what a healthy physique looks like for your companion.
“What Diet Do You Recommend?”
Working dog breeds (like Belgian Malinois) need high-protein diets. Puppies, adults, and senior dogs also have different nutritional needs. It is important to feed your dog high-quality food that will provide your canine with the best nutrition for their health. The amount of food your dog eats also varies based on your dog’s activity levels and their stage of life.
If your dog is over or underweight, your vet may recommend certain dietary adjustments.
Certain diseases require special diets, as well. If your dog suffers from food sensitivities or has urinary tract complications, they may need prescription dog foods. You may even wonder if wet or dry food is best for your canine companion. Your vet can help you navigate these questions for your specific pup.
“What Are the Best Parasite Preventatives?”
Parasites, such as hookworms, roundworms, and heartworms, can be problematic for an untreated dog. There are many different over-the-counter and vet-prescribed parasite preventatives on the market. Your vet can advise you on which treatments will work best for your dog and their situation.
Vets usually perform a fecal test annually to test a dog for internal parasites. Screening and preventative medications can keep your dog parasite-free.
External parasites, like fleas and ticks, can carry diseases, so it is important to treat your dog for these parasites to keep them safe. A vet can recommend the best types of prevention care.
“How Do I Keep My Dog’s Teeth Healthy?”
Proper dental care can keep your dog happy and healthy. Without proper dental care, dogs can develop bad breath, loose and broken teeth, bleeding, swelling, and mouth pain. Your vet will check your dog’s teeth at their annual exam, but they may have tips for how to keep your dog’s teeth in tip-top shape in between check-ups.
If you are worried about a particular tooth bothering your dog, you can discuss it at the check-up. Your vet can perform an examination and determine if you need to take any additional steps to care for your dog’s mouth. Believe it or not, doggy dentists do exist!
“When Should I Spay or Neuter My Dog?”
If you have an intact dog (meaning that they’re not “fixed”), you may want to know when you should have them spayed or neutered. Neutering helps prevent the risk of cancer and uterine infection in dogs. It can also decrease the risk of testicular cancer and enlarged prostate glands in male dogs.
Spaying or neutering your pet prevent unwanted pregnancies and decreases the sex hormones that produce heat cycles and mating behaviors that can be problematic (such as urine marking).
Based on the age of your dog and whether she has gone through heat, your vet can recommend the best time to perform the surgery.
“How Can I Extend My Dog’s Lifespan?”
As a devoted pet owner, you want to make sure your dog lives a long life. You can ask a vet for recommendations on how to ensure your pet stays around as long as possible. They may recommend a variety of care options to help keep them healthy and happy, such as exercise, diet, dental care, and regular vet visits.
If your dog is elderly, you may want specific instructions on how to provide your older dog with the best final years. A vet can give you care advice to help with arthritis and other ailments that affect older dogs.
“Is My Dog’s Behavior Normal?”
If you’re a first-time dog owner, you may constantly ask yourself: “Is my dog supposed to do that?” A vet can put your mind at ease when you are unsure about something regarding your dog. It’s best to ask rather than keep the question to yourself, even if you fear the answer may be very basic. You are your dog’s best advocate and even minor questions can make a big difference in your dog’s life.
Ask Anything You’re Unsure About
It can be overwhelming when you visit your dog’s vet for the first time, but with some careful planning and consideration, you can ask the right questions. The more you ask, the more you’ll know and understand about your dog. This information can help you better care for your pet and keep them thriving for years to come.