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Five Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian

Reviewed by Dr. Sarah Tasse, DVM on Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Posted December 20, 2014 in My Dog's Veterinarian

Dr. Ernie Ward gives you five questions to ask during your next veterinary visit. For more from Dr. Ward, find him on Facebook or at www.drernieward.com

As a practicing veterinarian for over twenty years, I’ve learned a learned a few tricks to best help my pet patients stay healthy and avoid illness. There are five key areas I try to cover during each annual exam. To optimize your pet’s next routine appointment, I suggest you jot down your own version of these five simple questions. By preparing questions you want answered before you go, you’re less likely to forget them during the time crunch that hampers many visits. 
Client with dog and vet
1. What should I feed my pet?
The most important health decision you make each day for your pet is what you feed it. Even if you have no plans on changing food, have a conversation about nutrition with your vet. New research, diets, and your pet’s health vary over time. Let your vet know you’re interested in discussing your pet’s diet. For my patients, food is the foundation of good health. There’s simply no better source of pet nutritional information than an informed and interested veterinarian. Ask that question.

2. There’s this one thing my pet does that bugs me…
Seemingly insignificant behavioral issues can escalate into serious troubles in very little time. Today’s barking and whining can lead to tomorrow’s destroyed couch or injured neighbor. Don’t be embarrassed; the majority of pets I treat have at least one behavioral issue their owners would like to improve. Heck, I’m always working on my pets (and myself). There’s nothing too silly or trivial to bring up if it’s nagging you. Nipping problem behaviors in the bud can prevent future dangerous or destructive habits. Besides, I’d rather work on correcting minor issues instead of complex and deep-rooted problems.

3. Am I exercising my pet enough?
Along with feeding a healthy diet and maintaining good behavior, physical activity is key to a long and happy life. Tell your vet (truthfully) how much (or how little) you exercise your dog or cat. Your vet isn’t there to judge you; she’s there to help. As little as 15 to 30 minutes a day for dogs and two or three five-minute play periods for cats is all it takes. 

4. Can you find anything wrong with my pet?
Don’t stop at “Everything looks good.” What about

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Ernie has more than 20 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a well-known veterinarian, media personality and author. He is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.