When was the last time you took your pet to the vet?
Understandably, many of us associate a trip to the vet with something going wrong - an emergency situation perhaps, such as an unexpected illness or sudden injury to our pet.
However, building a relationship with your vet for regular and routine care can be very valuable.
In many case, good, regular preventative care can help avoid medical emergencies.
One of the great challenges for vets and animal care is that animals can‚Äôt tell us what‚Äôs wrong.
Animals can also be very resilient and stoic, and can become extraordinarily good to hiding their symptoms.
Subtle changes, that might be almost indetectable except through clinical testing, can indicate bigger problems.
That often means you pet might be suffering from a health condition for quite some time, before the symptoms become serious enough for you to notice.
By making regular visits to your vet as part of your routine pet care, you increase the chances that any problems can be identified early and quickly.
This means your pet is less likely to suffer from any unnecessary pain or discomfort without your knowledge.
Just as importantly, it might also mean that any problems can be successfully treated before they become more serious, improving the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Like humans, every animal is unique. Some are prone to eating too much, some not enough, and some like the eat the wrong things! Some love to exercise lots ‚Äì some not so much. And many will have strange habits, little niggles and quirks in their body or system, that it‚Äôs good to be aware of.
So, it's also really helpful for your vet to get to know you and your pet better. That will help them understand what your pet usually looks like, how they behave, and this can help them to effectively diagnose and treat any issues.
Talking regularly with your vet can help you become a more confident and comfortable pet owner as well. While there‚Äôs a wealth of information available on the internet, nothing beats being able to ask your vet about any concerns you have, or seeking their advice on everything from what to feed your pet to what kinds of toys to buy.
And if an emergency does eventuate, in those stressful circumstances, you might be grateful that you have a vet that you know well and trust as well.
A version of this article was first published by Australian Community Media.
A version of this article was first published in Australian Community Media.