By Dr. Randy Aronson, VMD CCRT

Select. Find the right veterinary team. Select a veterinarian(s), experienced support staff and facility that exceed your expectations. Build a relationship with a team whose professionalism, caring and compassion promote trust, effective communication and client education. Inquire about hours, services, fees, and practice philosophy. Get word-of-mouth references from animal-loving friends, family, neighbors, etc.

Prepare. Come to your scheduled appointment prepared. Bring your pet leashed or crated. Provide your veterinary team with relevant medical information and documents (medications, diet, vaccine information, and lifestyle or travel changes). Bring a list of questions or health concerns, so you don’t forget to discuss them.

Participate in your pet’s health care. During office calls or appointments, communicate your and your pet’s needs and health care goals. Make informed choices, ask questions, and seek to understand the rationale behind specific medical recommendations.

Prevent. Take a preventative approach. Twice yearly examinations, internal screening tests, appropriate nutrition, weight management, regular dental care, lifestyle-based vaccine and parasite control programs all serve to prevent and detect disease, giving your beloved pet the best health care possible. In the long run, preventative veterinary care not only saves money but often improves the longevity and quality of our pet’s lives.
Follow through on veterinary recommendations. This is the most challenging yet important step. You owe it to your 4-legged family member to give the medication or treatment prescribed, to return for recommended testing or recheck appointments and to provide feedback to your veterinary team.