October is National Pet Wellness Month, and that makes it the perfect time for your pet’s annual wellness checkup. Started in 2004 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA®), National Pet Wellness Month highlights the steps pet parents can take throughout the year to ensure their furry friends live long, healthy lives. The AVMA recommends bi-annual wellness checkups with your vet, as well as communicating with your vet regularly about your pet’s lifestyle for advice specific to your pet, so let’s go into some of the questions you should add to your list to ask your vet at your pet’s next wellness exam.
Is My Pet a Healthy Weight?
Did you know that approximately 25-30% of dogs are considered obese by medical standards (10-20% above the breed’s ideal weight) and that a dog being even slightly overweight can reduce their life expectancy by as many as 2 years? It’s scary to think that something as simple as a few extra pounds could take your best friend away from you sooner, and that’s why it should be one of the first things you ask your vet about.
Weight gain in animals can have multiple causes including lifestyle, disease, and food intake, so be straightforward with your vet about your dog’s day-to-day activities. You can work together to create a plan for weight loss or run some tests to eliminate a medical cause for the weight gain. Use this as an opportunity to get your pet active with quality playtime indoors or out. We are loving the Instagram trend of spoiling pets with activities like dog yoga.
Does My Pet Need a Dental Exam?
Animals need dental cleaning and treatment just like humans do. During your wellness exam, your vet will likely check your pet’s teeth, but be sure to ask. While you’re there, run through your current oral care routine, or if you don’t have one, ask the vet’s guidance.
As your pet ages, their dental needs may change, so be sure to ask about oral care and maintenance during each visit to keep those chompers healthy.
Is My Pet Happy?
This may seem like a silly question to ask your vet, but it’s important. If you’ve noticed anything odd or any behavioral changes in your pet, bring them up to your vet. It’s possible that pets are just as impacted by recent world events as we are and may need special care.
Has your family experienced large life changes recently? Whether you’ve started a new job, gone back to the office, or even moved houses, those events can completely rattle your pet’s world. Talk to your vet and ask for guidance on putting your pet’s emotional and mental well-being at the top of your priority list.
When Does My Pet Need to Be Vaccinated?
Your vet will likely go over vaccinations with you during your wellness exam but keeping vaccinations up to date is a basic tenet of pet wellness. Not only should you ask the vet to update your current vaccines, but request the schedule of future boosters, and schedule them that day or add them to your calendar so you don’t miss any.
When Should I Spay or Neuter My Pet?
There are health benefits to spaying and neutering beyond just helping reduce and maintain the population of homeless pets. If your pet isn’t already spayed or neutered, ask your vet about the timing and the process. There may be cause to go through the surgery sooner rather than later and asking at your wellness exam allows you time to factor that surgery into your budget and schedule.
What Health Issues Are Related to My Pet’s Breed?
Breeding over time to bring out specific traits in dogs and cats has caused some health problems that are breed specific. It’s important to know what to look out for so if your pet is impacted by one of those diseases you can catch it early.
Some of these issues may be common knowledge, like dogs with flat noses having respiratory issues, but others may be unique, so ask your vet what you should know about your pet’s specific breed. This is a great question to ask regardless of species, and even if your pet is a mixed breed.
This October, participate in National Pet Wellness Month with your fur buddy! Pamper yourself and your pet with both physical healthcare and taking time to treat yourselves, because quality bonding time is great for your well-being and your pet’s.
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