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Wellness

9 Things You Should Ask At A Vet Appointment

When you and your pet need to seek the professional advice of a veterinarian, it can be easy to get overwhelmed at the moment and forget to ask several critical questions. In the case that your dog isn't feeling well, it’s understandable why you’d get caught up with anxiety and panic.

The result?

A bunch of unanswered questions following your veterinarian visit. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are several ways to ensure that your vet answers all of the essential questions.

Before your pet’s next vet appointment, reference this article for some questions that you should ensure you ask their veterinarian. In addition, writing these questions down and bringing a piece of paper with them to the appointment can prove helpful and reduce the chance you’ll forget to ask. 

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to hear your vet’s opinion about your pet’s health. You can ask a vet a variety of questions, and they will be able to supply you with a helpful answer that will offer a snapshot into your pet’s current state of health.

You can ask your vet questions about illness prevention, pet needs, treatment options, and even life stages. For a vet, there’s no question too vague or too niche. Whatever you feel would benefit your pet to know, you should certainly ask.

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These following questions are an excellent place to start:

How should I prepare for my appointment?

Once you successfully schedule your pet’s appointment, you can begin to prepare for it. It’s wise not to leave preparation to the day of or the day before.

Ideally, you will be gathering observations and taking notes about your pet’s condition and your evaluation for several days or even weeks prior. This helps guarantee that you are providing your vet with the most helpful, accurate information. 

The first thing that you should do is ensure that you have a grasp of your pet’s medical history. Generally speaking, it is wise to keep all of the paperwork that you get from your vet in a centralized place. 

This helps when you are preparing for an appointment because everything is in one consolidated place. You can review previous conditions before the appointment so that you are well-versed in your pet’s conditions. You can also bring the paperwork to show the vet if you are going to see a vet in person. 

In addition, take note of any medicines you are giving your pet. Make a note of the frequency and how long they have been taking it. This will also help the vet get some background information on your pet. Yes, this includes supplements, vitamins, medicines, and flea/tick meds. 

If you are seeing a vet because of a physical issue, you could even provide the vet with a video or picture of your pet’s condition. This will be helpful because sometimes, dogs do not exhibit the behavior in the presence of the vet.

Lastly, bring any questions that you might want to ask the vet, as long as detailed observations about the pet’s condition or why you might be seeking preventative care. Ideally, these questions will be written down so that you are sure to remember them. 

When should I ask my questions?

There are two ways to ask questions at the vet: is the question the primary reason you are at the vet, or are you there for a more general reason and can ask the questions at the end? 

For some vet visits, the questions could essentially be the cause of the visit. In this case, asking the questions first would be invaluable. In other situations, giving your vet the opportunity to examine your dog or cat (or other pet) first and then asking questions is a better course of action.

It is up to your discretion. In general, there’s never a wrong time to ask questions, and it’s better to have more than less. 

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What should I ask my vet?

When you get to the vet, you should have questions that you intend on asking them jotted down. This will ensure that you remember to ask your vet what you need to know. Knowing what to ask, however, can also prove to be challenging.

It is very tempting to do an internet search of what our pet’s symptoms we are observing. However, Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson recommends against this. She says that “when you diagnose simply by searching for the symptoms you see, you may be missing subtle signs of illness that a veterinarian is trained to detect and interpret.”

If you are unsure, here is a list of some valuable questions that can help provide clarity for your pet’s condition. 

1. Does my pet have their vaccinations?

Within the last century, vaccinations for pets have become widespread. Experts concluded that this has prevented the death of millions of animals. Therefore, ensuring that your pet has the correct vaccinations is essential. 

Not only do vaccinations protect your pet against illness, but they can also help you avoid expensive treatment necessary for diseases that could have been prevented.

Vaccinations are also important if you have more than one pet. These life-saving shots can help stop the spread of diseases between animals or even between animals and people. In addition, many states and towns require pets to have certain vaccinations. 

At any vet visit, asking the veterinarian if your pet is up to date on shots is an excellent idea. This will help ensure that there is never a time when your pet is unprotected. Inquire if there are any shots that are considered more elective but are specific to your area and climate. For example, some pets receive a rattlesnake vaccine to protect against realistic local threats. 

2. Is my pet a healthy weight?

Obesity is the most common preventable disease for a wide range of domestic pets. Not only can obesity shorten your pet’s life, but it will also increase the chance that they will develop diseases. 

Ask your vet about your pet’s weight every time you see them so that you can ensure that if your pet begins to gain weight and becomes obese, you can take steps to help them become healthier as soon as possible. 

3. Can you recommend a trainer?

If you have noticed that your dog has behavioral problems or can use brushing up, you might want to get a trainer to help your dog polish their etiquette. You can ask your vet to recommend a trainer that they believe would help your pet’s particular situation. 

4. Are my pet’s behaviors normal?

If your pet has any “quirks” or unusual behaviors, it’s worth mentioning these to your vet at your next appointment. In addition, if your pet has recently acquired any unusual behaviors, it’s even more essential that you mention these. 

Telling a vet about your pet’s odd behaviors can help them catch something in case there actually is something wrong. 

5. Should I change my pet’s food?

If you feel that your pet does not have enough nutrients in their food (or if they are engaging in behaviors that suggest this), you will want to ask about changing their food. 

Alternatively, if your pet is throwing up or having diarrhea, asking the vet about their food can be valuable. You want to ensure your pet’s food is providing them with the proper nutrition; a vet could provide insight. 

6. What types of medicines should I use?

This depends on your pet’s individual condition. If your pet is already on medication, you can bring your pet back to the vet after some time to ensure that it has desired results. In addition, if you notice that your pet is not responding to their medication anymore, a vet would be able to provide insight.

Alternatively, if you fear something is wrong with your pet health-wise, and you believe they need medication (whether that be for a physical illness or separation anxiety), be sure to ask this at your appointment. 

7. Do their teeth look ok?

Rough tartar can accumulate on your pet’s tooth surfaces and touch the gum line. If this is the case, your pet could need some dental assistance. It’s always wise to ask a vet what they think about your pet’s teeth, as sometimes it is tricky to figure out if your pet’s teeth are okay.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is part of a regular maintenance routine to prevent dental disease. Your vet may also recommend professional dental cleanings as well. 

8. Are these lumps normal?

Lumps on a pet are not uncommon, and they’re not necessarily hazardous, but they could be. However, if you notice that your pet has lumps, it is critical that you promptly reach out to a veterinarian to ensure that they are benign. They will give your professional insight regarding the next steps. 

9. May I record our conversations to refer to later?

You should always ask permission of the other party when you want to record a conversation to refer to later. This is not only good etiquette but also could help you stay out of legal trouble in some states and countries. Before you record a conversation with a vet, have the courtesy to get their permission. 

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Get peace of mind at your vet appointment

Bringing your vet to an appointment can be overwhelming, but if you know what you should ask, you can help ensure that you get peace of mind and a snapshot of your pet’s health.

Pawp’s vets can help get these questions answered, and you won’t even have to leave your home. With no wait times and no need to schedule an appointment, consider telehealth when looking for the best in veterinary care. 

SOURCES: 

Guide for Taking Care of Animals - Animal Care for Pet Owners | Ross Vet 

Vaccination Guidelines for Dogs and Cats | UC DavisSchool of Veterinary Medicine 

Pet Obesity | University of Minnesota  

Pet Nutrition Basics | Tufts University Cummings School  

Keeping your pet's teeth clean is important to their overall health | CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital 

Lumps and Bumps on My Pet | Veterinary Medicine at University of Illinois  

Recording Phone Calls and Conversations | Digital Media Law Project  

(PDF) Rattlesnake Vaccine to Prevent Envenomation Toxicity in Dogs | Research Gate

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