Prepare for Your Vet Appointment
Do One Thing: April 2019. This article is part of the 2019 "Do One Thing' series, which focuses on one small project we can do each month to support our dog's health.
April often seems to be the month for visits to the vet, and as I often advise...
An informed decision is the best decision
Your assignment for April ...
Prepare for your dog's vet appointment ahead of time, and become informed about your dog's health conditions, vaccines, and medications - including flea, tick, and heartworm treatments your vet may recommend for your dog.
Use this information to actively participate in your dog's health care choices. Question, question, question.
It will come as no surprise to readers that I support informed holistic approaches to diet and canine health care where possible.
While most vets truly have your dog's best interest at heart, they may not necessarily be up to date on the most current information related to diet, medications, vaccines, or treatments - particularly methods and treatments that are more natural or holistic. Often the standard process of care does not view your dog as a unique individual.
Become your dog's advocate. Please do not allow the idea of an uncomfortable conversation with your vet prevent you from asking questions, asking about alternatives, doing your own research, and seeking another opinion or method, if needed, and as long as it's not an emergency. You and your vet are partners in your dog's care.
How to Prepare for Your Dog's Vet Appointment
Become aware of the risks, benefits, side effects, and contraindications of all suggested medications and vaccines for your dog; make certain they are a fit for your dog, and make informed choices on their behalf.
Vaccination is crucial - over vaccination is detrimental. For adult dogs, this article may be helpful: https://www.planetpaws.ca/2016/04/28/how-long-do-vaccines-last-for-pets/
Read the package inserts, or visit the pharmaceutical manufacturer's website of flea, tick and heartworm treatments before choosing them for your dog. Assess your dog's current health, risk, lifestyle and daily patterns, and the possible reactions and side effects of these chemical treatments. Read reputable websites for more information. Make certain that the product you are using is the most appropriate one. (I recently heard from three families who were told to give a certain brand of tick treatment to kill the ticks that cause Lyme disease - and yet that particular product does not treat black-legged ticks.)
Senior dogs. If your dog is a senior, or has a chronic health condition, it is even more important to make wise choices about vaccines, parasite treatments, and medications. These products may be problematic for certain dogs.
Treat the whole dog. The best decisions are ones that take into account all aspects of your dog - current health status, lifestyle, geographical location, diet, emotional well being, and breed health specifics.
Pause. When it's not urgent or an emergency, it's ok to tell your vet that you need a few days to consider and independently research vaccines, flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives, medications, or treatment plans for your dog.
Prioritize gut health. Keep your dog's gut health a priority, and make informed decisions about medications and treatments that support a healthy gut.