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Taking Your Pet to the Vet

man walking with dog on leash and cat in carrier

Making regular annual or biannual visits to your veterinarian’s office is the best way to keep your pets happy and healthy. He or she can provide specialized care for them, and also explain preventive measures for you to do at home.

Before your visit, here are some ways to be prepared for the appointment:

  • Be sure you know if the veterinarian needs anything special, such as samples.
  • Make a list of any medications or treatments your pets are receiving.
  • Even for a routine checkup, observe your pets closely in the days leading up to the visit. Check eyes, ears, and coat for anything unusual, and observe any behavior changes.
  • If you're visiting for a specific issue or concern, write down any symptoms, when they happened, and any possible triggers. The more details you can provide will lead to a more informed diagnosis from your vet.
  • Remember to prepare for possible waiting time in the office. Be sure to have carriers or leashes for your pets so you can keep potential interactions with other animals or people under control.

Choosing the Right Veterinarian

A veterinarian is one of the most important people in your pets’ lives—and your family’s life, too. That’s why it is so important to find the right one. When your pets need a checkup or shots, or if an emergency happens, your vet is the first person your family turns to for help.

Keep these points in mind when seeking out a new veterinarian:

  • Recommendations from family and friends
  • Cleanliness and orderliness of the office
  • Proximity to your home
  • Office hours that fit your schedule

In addition to finding a reputable veterinarian, it is crucial to know where the nearest animal hospital is located in case of an emergency or if your vet is inaccessible.

An Ounce of Prevention for a Long Life Together

Proper nutrition, vaccinations, disease screenings, and dental cleanings are all vital to ensuring good health and longevity for your pets. Routine preventive care is key to a better overall quality of life!

A complete, balanced diet is important in all stages of life and will provide all the daily requirements of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your pets need to help keep fit and healthy. If you’re unsure about the type of food to choose, ask your veterinarian for guidance.

Perform consistent dental care to help protect your pets’ teeth, and to greatly reduce the risk of infection from the oral cavity into the heart and major organ systems, too. In addition to regular teeth brushing, your pets should have a professional dental cleaning, which uses ultrasonic scaling and high-speed polishing to remove the bacteria and tartar that can lead to infection, pain, and tooth loss.

Parasite prevention is essential to avoid diseases transmitted by fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. Various prevention options such as pills or topical sprays are available over the counter, or through your veterinarian’s office. Ask your vet what’s best for your pets.

A vaccination schedule administered by a veterinarian is necessary to prevent health conditions.

  • For your dog, your vet may provide routine vaccinations for canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, coronavirus, parainfluenza, Bordetella, Lyme disease, and rabies.
  • For kittens, a vaccination schedule begins at around 6 weeks old—when they lose the maternal antibodies that had helped keep them healthy since birth—until they are 3–4 months old.
  • For adult cats, vaccinations need to be administered every one to three years, depending on the specific disease risk in your area. Your vet can help determine the appropriate schedule for your adult cat.

Remember, most vaccines must be given over a period of time and require multiple veterinary visits. So check with your veterinarian, and get ready for happy, healthy pets!

Source: Purina® Cat Chow®