Top 5 Reasons to Take Your Pet to Their Annual Vet Visit

Some pet parents may wonder if the annual vet visit is really worth the time and the cost. The short answer? Yes! Your pet’s annual vet visit plays a big role in maintaining their overall health, and can go a long way in preventing and treating diseases before they become serious or expensive.

So what are the top 5 reasons to take your pet to an annual vet visit? Let’s take a look.

1. A Thorough Once-Over

Your pet’s annual vet visit gives your veterinarian an opportunity to thoroughly examine your pet, from head to paw. Many pets hide symptoms of illness and injury (cats especially are famous for staying quiet when they’re unwell), but your veterinarian knows what to look for, and how. Your vet will feel your pet’s body, coat, and skin, check their ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and listen to their heart and lungs. They will also take your pet’s temperature, weigh them, and may carry out blood tests. A thorough once-over not only allows your vet to make sure that all parts are in working order, it also gives your vet a chance to detect problems before they become serious or costly to treat.

2. Vaccination Boosters

Vaccines keep pets protected from certain diseases, and after your pet’s initial doses, they may require boosters to keep the vaccines effective. Most pets require 2-4 boosters per year and receive them at their annual vet visit; if you slack on making an appointment, you are putting your pal at risk. Don’t wait!

RELATED STORY: All About Vaccinating Your Dog

3. Heartworm Test and Fecal Exam

These are two important tests that your pet will undergo at the annual vet visit. The heartworm test is a blood test that checks for heartworm disease, which is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by parasitic worms. A fecal exam checks for gastrointestinal parasites that could harm your pet (and in some cases, you) if left untreated.

4. Additional Services

Some pets may require additional services at their annual vet visit, such as dental cleaning if your vet notices signs of dental disease, or allergy testing if you mention that your pet has been itching, scratching, or rubbing their face. The annual vet visit is the perfect time to cover all the bases and take care of outstanding issues.

RELATED STORY: Symptoms of Allergies in Cats and Dogs

5. Opportunity to Ask Questions

Maybe you’ve been wondering if your cat sleeps too much or if your dog’s food is right for them. While you should always contact your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health or habits, many pet parents wait when the question doesn’t seem pressing. The annual vet visit is a great time to bring in a list of questions and talk to your veterinarian candidly about your pet’s routines, behaviors, and nutrition. You might end up with answers that can help your pet live a happier, healthier life.

What are you waiting for? Contact your veterinarian now to schedule your furry friend’s next appointment. And if you want to save 25% on vet visits, sign up for PetPlus! Find out more at PetPlus.com.

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6 Tips for a Stress-Free Vet Visit

It’s the rare pet who actually enjoys a trip to the vet. In fact, such an animal is probably rarer than a unicorn. However, there are ways to make trips to the vet slightly more pleasant for everyone, although it will take a little more work and foresight to pave the way for a smooth vet visit.

1. Touch your pet like a vet would.

One of the reasons vet visits are so startling to pets is that the vet touches them in ways and places they aren’t accustomed to. You can help your pet feel comfortable with these unusual methods of touching by playing doctor and rehearsing a veterinary exam.

Your vet will examine your pet from head to tail, and may palpate – or gently press down using the hands – different areas of your pet’s body, like the neck and the belly. Lift up your pet’s tail, and run your hands all over your pet, including the feet and nails.

RELATED STORY: The Ever-Important Dog Physical Exam

2. Don’t get nervous.

Be aware of you own energy, because your pet can feed off your anxiety. If you realize you feel nervous on the day of the vet visit, be sure to take some deep, cleansing breaths to lower your heart rate. Stick to your regular routine, including walks, which will help to burn off that nervous energy.

3. Use a calming collar.

If your pet seems to really panic at the idea of a trip to the vet, then consider purchasing a calming collar for your cat or your dog. The soothing scents of chamomile and lavender may help to comfort and relax your pet.

RELATED STORY: How To Know If Your Dog Has Anxiety

4. Don’t use a carrier only for vet visits.

If your pet only sees the inside of the carrier when it’s time for the vet, then that little box is going to represent a cage of panic and grief for your animal. If you use a carrier at home as a safe place for your pet to snuggle and nap, then it won’t seem like such a big, stressful deal to hop in the carrier for transportation to the vet.

5. Practice car rides for other fun reasons.

Likewise, if your pet only rides in the car on the way to the vet, it’s going to be a very long car ride for both of you. Try taking your pet on other excursions in the car, for example, to drive your dog to a meadow for a hike.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps To A Safe Drive With Your Dog

6. Use treats strategically.

If your cat enjoys catnip, then plan on using it strategically, because the effect only lasts about 5 to 15 minutes. Figure out the worst part of the vet visit for you; is it coaxing your cat into the carrier, or the part where you open the carrier for the vet? Use your kitty treats or catnip with those circumstances in mind to keep the effectiveness high.

Likewise, if you know you have a visit to the vet approaching, get a little stingy with your treats for your dog until it’s ‘go time’ for maximum effect. A dog with a belly that’s already loaded with treats isn’t going to be too interested in your bribery.

How do you keep your pet calm for a vet visit? Let us know by leaving a comment below! Sign up for PetPlus and save up to 75% on your pet’s medications plus discounts on boarding, supplies, and more. 

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Changing Marijuana Laws May Lead to Increase in Pot-Related Vet Visits

Since the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in select states across America, the growing industry of distributing cannabis for medical and recreational use promises to stimulate economy, but not without its fair share of controversy and challenges.

One unforeseen challenge arising from this laissez faire attitude towards cannabis is a massive increase in the number of dogs being treated for ingesting large amounts of pot.

RELATED STORY: Poisonous Plants to Cats and Dogs

The Canine Cannabis Conundrum

In Arizona, where medicinal marijuana has recently been legalized, veterinarians are reporting a year over year doubling in the amount of dogs requiring treatment for exposure to pot. Luckily, natural cannabis is generally non-fatal, resulting in your dog feeling sick for a day or two, but without any major lasting effects. Synthetic cannabinoids, however, are trickier. “Because they’re often manufactured overseas, we have seen some dogs with serious illness related to ingesting the synthetic marijuana,” said Billy Griswold, director of medical management for the Emergency Animal Clinic in Phoenix.

The Side Effects

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Symptoms of marijuana exposure include:

As far as treatment for exposure is concerned, it is mainly a matter of dealing with the symptoms on a case by case basis and keeping the patient comfortable, as there is no outright antidote to marijuana.

The Takeaway

So, while the recent movement across America to decriminalize, or even legalize, marijuana has many people excited, we cannot lose sight of certain sobering aspects of cannabis, one of them being the strong, and often harmful, effect it has on our pets. Just because it has been made vastly more acceptable for people to imbibe, it is still by and large an emphatic no-go when it comes to our feline and canine compadres.

RELATED STORY: The Most Poisonous Foods for Dogs

pot-dog-3-blogIf you live in an area where marijuana is available, in either a medicinal or recreational capacity, and you choose to use, make sure you treat it like you would any other medication or libation, in that you keep it out of your paw’s reach. When not in use, put your stash in a cabinet or drawer, and try to keep any smoke away from your pets, as even minimal exposure can result in your pet becoming intoxicated.

Most importantly…

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If you suspect your pet has gotten a hold of your marijuana, tell your vet.

“To be perfectly honest, we really don’t care what [pet parents] do on their free time,” says Griswold. “We just try and impress upon folks that in the long run it’s better for the pet and usually for your wallet to just own up to it so we can figure out what it is and react in the most specific way possible.”

Have an opinion on what you just read? Let us know in the comments section!

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14 Questions Your Vet Will Ask You

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When you visit your doctor, chances are you answer some questions about your health history, your current health habits, and any symptoms you might be experiencing. These same types of questions can come up when we take our pets to the veterinarian, but because our pets can’t talk, we need to be prepared to answer for them. You might think that you can answer any question about your pet off the top of your head, but it doesn’t hurt to refresh your memory and have a list to refer to.

RELATED STORY: 7 Pet Symptoms That Require Vet Attention

Feel free to print out the attached PDF (find below), write in your answers, and bring it along with you to the vet. After the visit, you could save the form in your pet’s file so that you can refer to it again in the future.

1. When and where did you get your pet?

2. What vaccinations — if any — has your pet received?

3. Has your pet ever had a serious health issue or surgery?

4. Have you ever travelled outside of the area with your pet?

5. Are there any other pets in the house?

6. What medications — if any — is your pet taking?

7. What kind of food does your pet eat?

8. How much does your pet eat? Have there been any changes to their appetite?

9. How much does your pet drink? Have their been any changes to their thirst?

10. How are you pet’s bathroom habits? Are they having accidents, urinating more than usual, less than usual, is their feces normal, etc.?

11. Has your pet recently gained or lost weight?

12. What kind of exercise does your pet get?

13. Is your pet exhibiting any behavioral problems (such as excessive barking, excessive meowing, chewing, itching/scratching, etc.)?

14. Is your pet displaying any unusual symptoms? Vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance, etc.?

Download the Vet Visit Questionnaire


Routine vet visits play an important role in maintaining your pet’s overall health. Stay on schedule, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on medications, boarding, and more.

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