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  • Writer's pictureKaaya Sharma

Questions to ask at your pet's first vet visit

Taking your pet to the vet for the first time can be nerve-wracking, especially if you are a first-time pet owner. Having a list of questions in mind before that first appointment can be very beneficial and will ensure that you have all the information you need to keep your pet healthy in-between visits.

1. Is my pet healthy?

I know, it seems obvious right? However, a lot of times our pets may seem perfectly fine on the outside but they can actually be fighting unnoticeable parasites or other infections. On your pet's first visit, the vet should perform a full physical examination of your pet. They will evaluate your pet's oral, skin, abdominal, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular health. Generally, a fecal test is also taken to test for parasites. These tests will confirm that your pet is healthy, both internally and externally.


2. What vaccinations does my pet need?

Depending on your pet and their history, your vet will need to give them certain shots. Make sure to take all the paperwork you have received from your breeder or animal shelter. This will prevent giving your pet a vaccine that they may have already received. Generally, your pet will need rabies, hepatitis, parainfluenza, distemper, and leptospirosis vaccines.


3. When should I get my pet spayed/neutered?

Getting your pet spayed or neutered can be a good idea to prevent unwanted births, behavioral concerns related to pregnancy or mating instincts, and other health issues. How soon a pet undergoes this treatment heavily depends on the breed and size of the pet. Generally, cats should receive this surgery before they reach five months of age. This applies to dogs as well, however, some larger male dogs can wait up until around ten months of age. Ask your vet what would work best for your pet!


4. How often should my pet get checked up?

This is a very important question you should ask at your pet's first vet visit. Since younger pets undergo growth and development at a faster rate, they may require more vet visits at first. As they get older, the frequency of visits should begin to decrease. Your vet will help you create a good schedule for your pet depending on their situation.


5. How much exercise does my pet need?

The amount of exercise your pet needs depends on its breed and size. While smaller pets can usually get enough exercise just by walking around the house, larger pets may require daily walks and physical activity. In addition, if you have a cat, make sure to ask your vet if you can let them roam outside by themselves and get advice on how to prepare them for this outdoor recreation.


6. What diet should my pet follow?

A pet's diet can be an essential aspect of maintaining good health. It is important not to overfeed or underfeed your pet. Based on your pet's size and needs, your vet should be able to direct you to a good diet plan. It may also be a helpful resource for you to read my blog about toxic foods your pets should avoid.


7. Is it safe for my pet to socialize with other pets?

Whether it be taking your pet to a dog park or training classes, it can be hard to resist socializing with your pet when you first get them. However, before you start to take your pet to areas where they will be exposed to other animals, you need to make sure it is safe for them to do so. They should first receive all the important vaccines and tests that will protect them and the pets around them. Make sure to consult your veterinarian about this!


8. How should I train my pet?

Oftentimes, your vet can advise you on the best training practices for your pets. It is always nice to ask if they have any recommendations for training classes or personal trainers you can contact to make the process easier. Training usually tends to be time-consuming and requires more patience for dogs, as they are more dependent creatures. Cats usually pick up things faster and are generally more independent.


9. Do you recommend getting pet insurance?

Pet insurance can be a great option to alleviate costs of emergency or unanticipated veterinary fees. Your veterinarian can be a great resource to get more information about this process. They may also be able to recommend a good insurance provider for your pet. Of course, it is always a good idea to do your own research about this process as well.


10. Is there any additional information I should be aware of?

Every pet is different. Whether it be their breed, genes, size, health issues, or more, you should always ask your veterinarian for advice specific to your pet. This includes specific tests, vaccinations, oral hygiene, microchipping, parasite protection, and more. The goal is to make sure your pet receives the best care and prevention measures available.

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