Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

How to Get the Most from Vet Visits: What to Ask & How to Ask

by | Apr 25, 2023 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care | 0 comments

How to Get the Most from Vet Visits: What to Ask & How to Ask

World Veterinary Day is April 29, and it’s a good time to reflect on how to ask your vet questions. When I worked as a veterinary technician many years ago, pet parents ask questions all the time, but rarely to the vet. Folks often acted embarrassed, or waited to telephone from home hours or days after the appointment. Perhaps they felt intimidated by the doctor when they take pets to the back, or feared their questions were foolish. Maybe the busy schedule of the clinic offered little opportunity to ask.

Whatever the reason, remember that there are no foolish questions for your beloved cat and dog. Does your dog hate the vet, or is your cat fearful of vet visits? That can increase your own worry and stress.

As your pet’s top advocate, it’s up to you to arm yourself with expert advice and information to provide the best care possible. Here are some tips to be fear free when asking your vet questions.

get the most from vet visits

WHY YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR VET

My career as a vet tech began long before “Dr. Google” or “Alexa” answers. Today, some pet parents rely too much on the Internet to answer questions, or only seek the opinions of friends. Even though I am NOT a vet, I often am asked pet health or care questions. Here’s what I say when ask about pet health or care concerns.

While some online resources like vet schools are terrific, they can only offer very general information and nothing specific about YOUR pets. Your veterinarian has personally examined your dog and cat, possibly run additional tests, knows what treatments they have already tried, and has the most specific and detailed information available.

vet visitsWHEN TO ASK YOUR VET

The veterinarian may have a busy schedule, so plan for your questions. The best times to ask questions is the beginning of the exam, and ask follow-up questions at the end of the visit before the doctor leaves the room.

If you’ve researched from the Internet or friends, you may think you know what’s needed, but ask anyway. Your pet is unique and could have very different answers than Aunt Freda’s dog’s situation. Once the doctor has examined your pet and explained any treatment, be sure to ask for any necessary clarification before you leave the clinic.

veterinary visits

HOW TO ASK YOUR VET

Very often it’s not what you ask, but how you ask that gets the most out of your veterinary visit. The staff may become frustrated by pet parents who base questions solely on “Dr. Google” research that may not apply, or could be dangerously wrong.

That said, veterinarians want pet parents to be invested in caring for their cats and dogs. Recognize that the doctor and many of the staff studied for many years to attain the expertise to offer medical advice and care. You know when something’s “off” about your pet—but the vet has the tools and ability to figure out the cause and what to do about it.

By all means, explain to the doctor your concerns, and what research you may have done. Here’s how to ask:

“I found out (XYZ) from (what source). Could that have any bearing on what’s happening with my pet?” There are good, bad, and nutty sources when you search Dr. Google for answers, so understand why your vet might dismiss some information.

cat friendly practice vet visitsWHAT TO ASK YOUR VET

Specific questions vary depending on why your pet needs veterinary care. Whether the exam is routine or you have a health concern or emergency, consider asking:

  • Is my pet a healthy weight?
  • Should I change my pet’s food? How and why?
  • What can I do to help him/her maintain dental health?
  • Which preventive flea/tick products do you recommend, and why?
  • How often should they receive vaccinations for what disease?
  • Why does my pet (fill in the behavior), and is that normal? What can I do about it?
  • Can you recommend a trainer/behaviorist/groomer/boarding facility?
  • When should I be concerned about (behavior, activity, appearance/demeanor) change?
  • What are the testing or treatment options? Will they cure, manage, or delay the problem?
  • How much will the test/treatment cost? Can you please explain the bill to me?
  • If this was YOUR pet, what would you do?

How to Remember Important Information

When a pet suffers an emergency or a serious diagnoses, even when you ask questions and receive answers, it’s hard to remember everything. Many doctors provide written reports, but sometimes the technical language proves hard to understand. Most folks these days can record conversations. So before your veterinarian explains, ask:

  • May I record our conversation to refer to later?
  • When would it be convenient for me to call back with questions?

Veterinarians want you to understand and take part in your cat or dog’s good health. Never hesitate to ask questions and advocate for your pet. Should you have concerns about treatment, you may wish to ask for a second opinion or input from a specialist.

 

This article first appeared in a different form on FearFreeHappyHomes.com

 

 

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!

 

 

 

 

 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Categories:

Recent Posts

Top 5 Dog Exercises to Keep Fido Fit and Strong for Life

It’s time to get physical! Love it or hate it, exercise is just as important for your dog as it is for you. I walk on my desk treadmill every day to keep my joints loose and muscles toned. The Pet Health Network notes that obesity can lead to future health issues like arthritis, heart and breathing issues, and can even take two years off your dog’s life!

I love sharing pet health tips from other pet professionals. But always check with your veterinarian about your own dog’s specific issues, to make sure they stay happy and healthy. Here are my top five fitness tips for dogs.

Dog Taste Buds: What Flavor Do Dogs Love?

Do dogs have taste buds? Yes! But do dogs care about taste? Again, they clearly have flavor preferences. Of course, we know some of the odd and nasty weird stuff dogs eat—I really do need to record an Ask Amy about why dogs drink out of the toilet—but do they actually taste such things? How dogs taste remains a mystery in many ways.

Dogs taste sense mirrors that of humans, one reason your dogs beg for yummies from the table. For young dogs, smell of the food seems to trump taste. With some dogs, dirty socks might be a flavor enhancer . . . Read on, to learn what tastes dogs love, hate, and more!

How to Promote Cat Purrs for National Cat Health Month

February is National Cat Health Month. In the past, I’ve also written about the CATalyst Council declaring September to be Happy Healthy Cat Month, dedicated to finding ways to keep kitty companions happy, healthy and purring all year long. Keeping cats healthy should be the focus all year long, don’t you think? After all, they offer all kinds of health benefits to us.

Cats love us in countless ways, and we want to return the favor. All cat “parents” want to keep their felines healthy and happy, and I’ve updated my list based on what Karma-Kat demands and I know he needs. Check out the CAT-egorical Enrichment info! In the comments, please let me know which ones you already do — or share some feline favs from your furry crew!

National Love Your Pet Day: 15 Ways How Pets Show Love

At my house, I see how pets show love every day. If you wonder, how do I make my cat love me, it’s easy! February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day, but Valentine’s Day comes in just a few days. At my house, pet love happens EVERY day. Whether you love your pet with special attention, treats and toys or lap snuggles, pet love has become a given in our pet-friendly society.

In mid-2020, we multiplied our pet-love quotient by welcoming Shadow-Pup into the house. He arrived at a time when we really had no plans for another pet and struggled with the reality of dealing with Bravo-Dawg-s cancer (sadly, he lost his battle, but his love lives on). And Karma-Kat welcomed the pup, too–but for Bravo, the added attention/distraction helped enormously as he went through scary treatment, losing a leg, dealing with pain, and more. So I’m adding another way pets show love–by showing up when you need them!

Valentine’s Day: Pet Danger Advice

I’m often interviewed by media about various cat behavior and dog training issues, and of course, Valentine’s pet dangers top the list this week. Pet hazards are common when our normal routine goes out the window, so pet parents are vigilant around the holidays. Refer to this post about Easter dangers for pets.  And don’t forget that pet safety issues for Christmas are similar to those for Valentine’s Day but it’s always good to refresh our watch list.

Spoil Your Cat: How to Show Cats You Love Them

Cats are great actors and try to convince pet parents they’re already purr-fectly healthy and happy. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s a good time to think “outside the litter box” and find special ways to love your cat.

Recently, I’ve received a boatload of emails with product suggestions for spoiling cats with healthy fun. So check out some of the offerings–and in the comments, add suggestions of your own! Then share the blog far and wide to spread the kitty love!

Pet Music Therapy? The Sound of Success!

Pet music therapy can help solve dog and cat behavior problems as well as offer physical therapeutic benefits. Our pets are attuned to sound and are incredibly sensitive to noises, including music. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, some pets with “stranger danger” issues are in for a rough ride. Pet music therapy can help. Read on for more tips.

Carbon Monoxide Danger for You and Your Pets

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas. It’s a natural by-product of fuel combustion present in car exhaust and improperly vented furnaces, space heaters, water heaters, fireplaces, and tobacco smoke. It can quickly kill people as well as their pets. Children and pets have died in as little as 15 minutes inside running cars while parents shoveled snow outside the vehicle, unaware of the blocked tailpipe.

Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself…and your pets.

UPDATED AGING CAT BOOK DISCOUNTED!

I’m delighted to announce the release of the 2024 edition of COMPLETE CARE FOR YOUR AGING CAT. This book, when released, received multiple awards from the prestigious Cat Writer’s Association. I got the rights back after the first edition, published by New American Library/Penguin Books, and released an updated version first in 2010, and again in 2017. But the latest 2024 version offers the most comprehensive revisions and updated material.

Learn more–and how to get deep discounts on the Ebook, Paperback, and Hardcover editions!

6 Easy Fresh Breath Tips & How to Brush Doggy & Kitty Teeth (Without Getting Bit!)

Do you brush dog teeth? How about brushing cat teeth? The AVMA sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February to help prevent pet dental problems.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3.

But it’s never too late (or too soon) to get your pets’ pearly whites checked out by your veterinarian. Often the doctor has some great tips for keeping cat teeth clean and dog breath at bay, including how to brush doggy teeth.

Does the thought of brushing dog teeth make you cringe, roll your eyes, whimper, slink away–and feel guilty? You’re not alone. But once that puppy-sweet breath morphs into curl-your-eyebrows stench, it’s long past the time to address that stink-icity.

Visit Amy's Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships