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Top Questions To Ask Your Germantown, MD Veterinarian 
February 15, 2024

Is your furry friend due to visit your veterinary clinic soon? While many of our patients may prefer to stay home and take a nap, or maybe go to a dog park, your pet will be much healthier with proper care. Don’t forget that this is a great time to ask questions and get some personalized advice about your pet’s needs and care regimen. Read on as a local Germantown, MD vet suggests a few things you may want to ask on your next visit.

What Vaccinations Does My Pet Need?

Generally, the standard is to recommend that pets at least get the core vaccines. These include canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parvovirus type 2, and rabies for dogs,  and FHV-1, FCV, FPV, rabies, and FeLV for cats.

However, some pets may also benefit from additional vaccines. Bordetella, though not considered core, is always recommended for dogs that spend time with other pups, whether at parks, daycare, kennels, or other spots. Lepto is another one that is often recommended. This protects against Leptospirosis, a dangerous disease that dogs can pick up simply from coming into contact with contaminated soil or water.

Location is also a factor here. A Texas dog may benefit from a rattlesnake vaccine, but that wouldn’t make sense for a New England pooch.

Is My Pet A Healthy Weight?

Your vet will evaluate your pet’s body condition, and will be able to let you know if your animal companion is overweight, underweight, or just right. Keep in mind that even being a few pounds away from the ideal number can impact your pet’s health, especially with smaller animals.  

Is My Pet Getting Enough Exercise?

This one mostly applies to dogs: cats get rather lazy as they age. Fido’s workout needs will depend on his age, size, breed, and health. What is safe and suitable for one dog may be downright dangerous for another. For example, a Labrador Retriever may love swimming. This can also be a great, non-impact cardio workout for some dogs. However, swimming is very dangerous for some breeds, such as Pugs and Dachshunds.

Keep in mind that these guidelines will change over time. When your dog is a puppy, you may be advised not to encourage him to jump or stand on his back legs. Dogs grow very quickly, which puts a strain on their bodies. During this crucial stage, certain types of exercise can stress your pet’s musculoskeletal system, leading to lifelong issues. You’ll also need to be very cautious with senior dogs, as they are more fragile and can be easily overexerted.

Is My Pet Normal?

This one is a bit of a loaded question, especially for cat people: there may be no such thing as a normal cat! Your furry buddy may be obsessed with your bunny slippers, or insist on eating your wallpaper. That may sound a bit odd, but these adorable kinds of quirks actually are quite normal for Fluffy. What you want to find out is if your pet’s health and behavior is within the normal range.

What Should I Feed My Pet?

Choosing the right food for your furry pal can be a bit daunting these days. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of pet food manufacturers out there, and all of them want to make their products look the best. What is the best for your pet really depends on their age, breed, health, weight, and lifestyle, as well as any medical issues. This is a great conversation to have with your Germantown, MD veterinarian. In fact, you may want to take a picture of the pet food you use, especially if you’ve recently changed or if you’re feeding your pet food from a brand that has many different products.

What Common Diseases Are My Pets Susceptible To?

While there are many issues that can affect any pet at any time, some pets are more susceptible to specific ones than others. For instance, a white dog or cat may be at elevated risk of vision or hearing loss, while a large breed dog may be in danger of developing hip dysplasia.

Breed also comes into play here. If you have a mutt, it may not be a bad idea to get a doggy DNA test done.

How are My Pet’s Teeth?

Dental care is just as crucial to pets as it is for us. Of course, Fido and Fluffy can’t brush their own teeth or call a dentist if something is wrong. We recommend having your vet check your pet’s choppers at every appointment. You can then go from there.

Should I Give My Pet Any Supplements?

Different vitamins and supplements can give your pet’s body support against a variety of illnesses and injuries. For instance, glucosamine is often suggested for dogs with joint issues, while a supplement that contains a lot of Vitamin A may be better for one with vision problems. Be sure to consult your vet before starting anything.

What Preventative Care Does My Pet Need? 

It’s both easier and cheaper to protect your pet from dangerous parasites and diseases than it is to treat them. In some cases, preventative care can even save pets’ lives! There are now many options for things like flea and tick control and heartworm prevention. Even if your pet has been on a steady regime for years, it’s not a bad idea to check back with your veterinarian regularly. 

Should I Change My Pet’s Grooming Regimen?

Our animal companions are all super cute. They also look and feel better when they are clean, and their fur or feathers are properly cared for. Your pet’s beauty regime is not one-size-fits-all: a dog with short, sleek fur may be fine with only occasional baths, while a fluffy pup will need to be bathed monthly.

Don’t forget about nail care.  Some pets also need ear or eye care, or medical grooming, such as anal gland expression.

Ask not only how often you should bathe your pet, but for recommendations on things like combs, brushes, and shampoos, and, if applicable, haircuts.

What Should I Change As My Pet Ages? 

Our animal companions fill our lives with love, staying by our sides through thick and thin. Unfortunately, they don’t have as much time as we would all like. It may seem like you brought home that adorable puppy or kitten just weeks ago, so realizing that your furry pal is approaching their golden years can be a bit of a shock. You’ll need to stay up to date with your pet’s care needs as they change. That may entail dietary changes, different forms of play, or adjustments to their bedding.

Can You Recommend Any Services? 

Are you on the lookout for a kennel, groomer, trainer, or dog walker? Are you perhaps interested in volunteering with a local rescue? Your veterinarian may very well be able to point you in the right direction. It never hurts to ask! 

Is My Pet’s Microchip Okay? 

If you haven’t had your pet microchipped yet, then you’d of course need to get that done first. While microchips don’t need maintenance, they can sometimes move out of place or malfunction. It’s not a bad idea to have your Germantown, MD veterinarian check it regularly. 

What Local/Seasonal Dangers Should I Be Concerned About? 

This is important for everyone, but it’s really a huge one for people who have recently moved from one environment to another. For instance, someone from the Southwest may be well aware of Foxtail grasses, but that could be completely new to someone from Vermont. Even if you’ve lived in the same area all your life, this is a good thing to check in about. There may be a new threat, or perhaps one you weren’t aware of. 

Conclusion: When it comes to the health and well-being of our furry friends, effective communication with your veterinarian is crucial. Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner or a first-time pet parent, asking the right questions ensures you stay well-informed about your pet’s health and can make informed decisions.

Do you have questions for us? Contact us, your Germantown, MD animal clinic, anytime!