There are some questions that vets actually wish clients would ask either before they get a pet or soon after. We interviewed several veterinarians to find out which things they wish their clients would ask about their dog.
1. Should I get a dog? Wow, there is a lot to consider before you take on a pet. Do you have the time? Do you have the space? Do you have the money? You might not be considering some of the things that your vet might bring up.
2. Where should I get my dog? This is a great question. The best place is a good rescue group, shelter, or humane society. If you want a purebred dog, know that there are some great purebred rescue groups out there too. They often take dogs that were abandoned, whose owners have died, or have other circumstances that require they be rehomed. You can find a wonderful purebred pet through rescue!
3. What should I feed? “Is store-bought food OK? Should I give bones and table scraps?” I wish I got these questions more frequently and could guide owners to better dietary choices for their pets. In short: say no to bones and table scraps and yes to high-quality dog food.
4. Is Dry Food Really Better? Is dry food better for a dog’s teeth? The answer is – probably not. Learn more.
5. Should I train my dog? Gosh, I wish clients asked me this. I think all dogs should have some training. I’ve seen training save lives by teaching dogs to stay put when a car is coming, and I know it can do so much more.
6. What can I do to have a really nice dog? Things such as socializing your dog with lots of different people and different types of people at an early age can make a big difference. I love to expose dogs to men, women, short people, tall people, and people with hats…and when I introduce them to all kinds and races of people I reward the dog with treats and praise. Also, it pays to get your dog used to you playing with his feet and touching his mouth. This will make a big difference in your ability to get the nails trimmed and brush teeth.
7. How much will it cost to have a dog like this? Keeping a pet can be expensive. Just feeding a Great Dane can cost a small fortune. And if you are struggling to pay that, think about what happens when he gets sick. This is a question I really wish clients asked.
8. What can I do to keep her healthy? One of my favorite articles is this one on pet care recommendations for dogs. Vaccinations, flea control, daily tooth brushing, and socialization are all a part of a healthy pet and responsible pet ownership.
9. What are common toxins I can prevent? Grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, rat poison, Easter lilies, onions, and antifreeze are all very common toxins. Prevent exposure by locking up all chemicals and keeping “people food” away from your dog.
10.Should my pet see a specialist? If your pet is really sick or not getting better after being treated by your vet, it is OK to pursue the help of a specialist. Most vets will (and should) help you see a specialist to get the best care for your pet.
11. What is the best way to budget my expenses? I’ve never had anyone ask me this question but I wish they would. I only hear the other side of the story when clients ask how they are supposed to pay when something happens. Here’s a great article on caring for a pet on a budget.
12. Do you think my pet is overweight? I’ll be honest, pet owners often don’t want to think they have a fat pet. Sometimes there’s no way to sidestep the issue though-they have a fat dog. You can control your dog’s weight (and only you) by changing how much they eat, what they eat, and how much exercise they get! Read more about the Irreverent Vet speaks out on Pets that are “Big Boned“.
13.Is Pet Insurance Helpful? I only see dog owners struggling to pay for expensive routine care or medical care when their dog is sick. Only then do I get any questions after the dog is sick – and then it is too late to get pet insurance to help for that particular problem. The best time to get insurance for your dog is before he or she is sick. Learn more about how pet insurance works. Pet insurance can really help you and your vet do the best for your dog if a problem occurs.
14. Can I give my dog human medications? NO! Many human medications are toxic and you should never try using them on your pet. Please do the right thing and check with your vet before giving your dog anything.
I hope these questions help you know questions you can ask your vet that may prevent problems in your dog or keep him or her healthier.