When you take your pet to the veterinarian, you probably have two goals in mind: Getting your pet the best treatment possible and staying within your budget.
A routine examination, in addition to detecting illnesses in the early stages, can be an ideal opportunity to learn how to prevent illness and keep your pet healthy. At the vet’s office, ask these questions:
- What’s the best food for my pet? Animals are similar to humans when it comes to staying healthy. Health begins with proper nutrition.
- What foods can be toxic for my pet? Chocolate and raisins, for example, are among several foods that dogs should never eat.
- How much food should my pet eat? Overeating and under-eating are not just human problems. Pets, however, must rely on humans to manage their eating.
- How often should I bathe my pet? No one likes a smelly animal. Your vet can help you manage animal cleanliness. Make sure you inquire about washing specific areas, such as ears and eyes.
- What allergies are common to your pet and what can I do about them? Dog illnesses—itching, watery eyes, sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea—can be the result of allergies. Your vet can help you prevent some pet allergies before they occur.
- How do I get rid of fleas? Fleas, in addition to being a nuisance, can cause serious illness. Vets can suggest prescription and over-the-counter remedies.
Pet illness. Since animals can’t talk, they need someone to communicate for them when they’re ill. You are your pet’s best friend, so learn what to communicate to the vet. Try the following questions:
- Why does my pet . . . ? Be sure to specify exactly what it is your pet is doing and find out why. Many pet illnesses can be prevented with a little bit of advice from the doctor.
- What can I do to prevent this from happening again? This should always be a follow-up question once you find out why your pet is sick.
- How much is this going to cost? No surprises, right?
- Are alternative treatments available?
Finding a vet. The most important questions you can ask are the ones you ask before you choose a vet.
- What are your procedures if there’s an emergency? An after-hours emergency? Don’t wait for Fido or Fluffy to get injured before finding out what to do.
- Are other doctors on duty? Having multiple doctors on hand decreases the waiting time for emergency visits.
- How long have you been practicing veterinary medicine?
- Do you offer payment plans for surgeries and other costly procedures? Most vets will work with you in regards to payments.
- Are you accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association? Pet-WebMD recommends a vet who AAHA-accredited.