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Questions You Should Ask Your Veterinarian
February 15, 2024

Are you taking your furry friend to the veterinary clinic soon? Although many of our furry patients would probably prefer to stay at home and nap, or maybe visit a dog park, it’s definitely in their best interests to come in. Your pet will be much healthier—and therefore happier—with proper veterinary care! This is a great time to ask questions and get some personalized advice about your pet’s needs and care regimen! Read on as a local vet suggests a few things you may want to ask your Washington Heights, TX veterinarian on your next visit.

What Vaccinations Does My Pet Need?

Some vaccinations are recommended pretty much across the board. These are known as the Core vaccines. For dogs, the core vaccines include canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parvovirus type 2, and rabies. For cats, the core vaccines include FHV-1, FCV, FPV, rabies, and FeLV.

Some pets may also require additional vaccinations. This will depend on their age, location, and lifestyle. Although Bordetella is not considered core, it is typically recommended for dogs who spend time with other pups, whether at parks, daycares, kennels, or other places. Many kennels and grooming facilities require it. The Lepto (Leptospirosis) vaccine is another one that is often recommended. Leptospirosis is a dangerous disease that dogs can contract just by coming in contact with contaminated groundwater or soil.

The pet’s location also plays a role here. A dog that lives here in Texas may benefit from a rattlesnake vaccine, but a New England pup wouldn’t need it.

 Is My Pet At A Healthy Weight?

Your Washington Heights, TX vet will evaluate your pet’s body condition, and will tell you if your animal companion is overweight, underweight, or just right. A pet’s health can be affected even if he or she is a few pounds off their ideal weight, especially if the animal is a smaller one.

How Much Exercise Should My Pet Be Getting?

The following applies mostly to dogs: cats become quite lazy with age, but generally keep fit by playing. Fido’s exercise needs will depend on his age, size, breed, and health. What is safe and appropriate for one dog may not be safe for another. A Labrador Retriever, for instance, can safely enjoy and benefit from swimming, which can be an excellent non-impact cardio workout. However, some breeds, such as pugs and dachshunds, cannot swim safely and should keep all four paws on dry land.

When Fido is a puppy, you may not want to encourage him to jump or stand on his back legs. Dogs grow very quickly, which puts a lot of stress on their bodies. When your pet is in this crucial (and adorable) growth stage, certain types of exercise may stress his or her musculoskeletal system, causing lifelong issues. You’ll also need to be cautious with older dogs, as they are more fragile and can be easily overexerted.

What Is My Pet’s Ideal Diet?

Selecting the perfect nourishment for your beloved companion can be overwhelming nowadays. With numerous pet food companies vying for attention, it can be challenging to determine which product is truly superior. The ideal choice for your pet depends on their age, breed, health, weight, and lifestyle, as well as any existing medical conditions. Your Washington Heights, TX veterinarian is the ideal person to ask about this!

You may also find it helpful to take a photo of the pet food you currently use, particularly if you have recently switched brands or are feeding your pet from a company that offers a wide range of products.

What Health Conditions Is My Pet At Risk Of?

While many issues can affect any pet at any time, some pets are more susceptible to specific ones than others. For instance, white dogs and cats may be at an elevated risk for vision or hearing loss, while large breed dogs may develop hip dysplasia. (Tip: If you have a mutt, getting a doggy DNA test may not be a bad idea.)

How Are My Pet’s Teeth?

Dental issues are both very prevalent and very problematic in pets. Fido and Fluffy cannot brush their own teeth or call a dentist if something is wrong. We recommend having your vet examine your pet’s choppers at every visit.

What Kind Of Supplements Should I Give My Pet?

Different vitamins and supplements can definitely be beneficial. However, these are not one-size-fits-all. Glucosamine is often recommended for dogs with joint problems, whereas a supplement with a lot of Vitamin A may be better for one with vision problems. Consult your vet before beginning anything new.

What Preventative Care Is Recommended For My Pet?

Protecting your pet from parasites and diseases is both easier and cheaper than treating them. In some cases, preventative care can even save pets’ lives! Today, there are a lot of options available for controlling fleas, ticks, and heartworms. It is a good idea to revisit this with your Washington Heights, TX veterinarian regularly, even if your pet has been on a steady regimen for years, as there are many new products becoming available.

 What Should My Pet’s Grooming Routine Be?

Pets look and feel better when they are clean, and their fur (or feathers or scales) are properly cared for. There is no universally recommended beauty regime that suits all pets: a dog with short, sleek fur may only require occasional baths, while a fluffy pup will require a monthly bath. Do not only ask how often to bathe your pet, but also for recommendations on combs, brushes, shampoos, and haircuts, if necessary. Some pets also need ear and eye care, or medical grooming, such as anal gland expression. Nail trims are important, too!

As My Pet Ages, What Should I Change?

No matter how much we love our animal companions, unfortunately we just don’t have as much time with them as we’d like. It can be a bit of a shock to realize your furry pal is approaching—or already in—their golden years. Your pet’s care needs will change over time, so you’ll need to keep up with them. This can include dietary changes, different play styles, or bedding adjustments.

Can You Recommend A Service Provider?

Are you looking for a kennel, groomer, trainer, or dog walker? Are you interested in volunteering with a local rescue? Your veterinarian may be able to help. It never hurts to ask!

Is My Pet’s Microchip OK?

Microchips do not require maintenance, but they can sometimes move out of place or malfunction. It’s a good idea to have your veterinarian check the chip regularly.

Are There Any Local Or Seasonal Dangers I Should Be Aware Of?

This one is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people who have recently moved from one environment to another. For instance, someone from the Southwest might be familiar with foxtail grasses, but someone from Vermont might never have heard of them. It’s good to check on this regularly, even if you’ve lived in the same area all your life. There could be a new threat you might not know about.

In conclusion, communication with your veterinarian is crucial when it comes to the health and well-being of our furry friends. Asking the right questions ensures you stay well-informed about your pet’s health and can make informed decisions, whether you’re a seasoned pet parent or a first-time pet parent.

Do you have any questions about your pet’s care? Feel free to contact us, your Washington Heights, TX animal clinic, at any time!