What You Need To Know About Your Vet

Whether you have a pet for the first time or are trying out a new veterinarian, it's important to ask the right questions so you know how best to provide for your four-legged loved ones. Here are eight questions to ask on your first trip to the veterinarian's office.

Vet checking on cat in office

Before visiting a vet for the first time, take a moment to write down any questions you may have so you don't forget them once you are face-to-face with one of the most important people in your pet's life.

Be prepared to take notes as well, suggests veterinarian Laurie Coger.

"You may be getting some technical information about test results or diseases, and you'll be glad you wrote down the details when your spouse wants to know what's wrong with Fluffy," she said.

Eight questions to ask on your first trip to the vet.

1

What types of parasites are common in our area, and what can I do to prevent them?

Dr. Keith Rode, a veterinarian from Woodland Veterinary Hospital in Woodland, California, says parasites can vary by region and time of the year, so know what your pet is up against and how to protect your pet.

2

What are the hospital's policies and procedures?

Coger advises to ask about the office's hours and how emergencies are handled.

"If it is important to you, are there ancillary services such as boarding or grooming?" she said. "What payment options are available? Do they accept CareCredit or have a payment plan for unexpected large bills?"

3

Where can I find emergency care for my pet during evenings, weekends or holidays?

Some vet offices offer emergency care up until a certain hour each day, while others prefer you seek help from an animal emergency vet. Ask about what your vet offers in case an unexpected event occurs.

4

Is pet insurance right for my pet, and what should I look for when choosing an insurance plan?

Rode suggests inquiring about whether pet insurance is right for your pet and financial situation, as well as what types of pet insurance the vet accepts.

5

What are the vet office's capabilities?

Accidents happen, so Coger says it's important to know what the vet's office is capable of handling, or if you may have to go elsewhere for certain services.

"Is there an in-house laboratory? Digital X-ray?" she suggested as additional questions. "What surgeries are the veterinarians capable of?"

6

Which vaccines should my pet receive, and which are not necessary based on my pet's lifestyle?

Some vaccines may not be necessary if you never board your pet or take your pet to a dog park, for example. Rode says knowing which vaccines your pet most needs will help keep him healthy.

7

What type of food should my pet be eating?

If your pet has an obesity problem or a food allergy, vets can assist you with picking out a quality food for your pet.

8

What are some ways that I can encourage good behaviors while discouraging bad behaviors?

Rode says vets, who have extensive experience in working with animals, can help you get your pets on the right track to good behavior.

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