Vet visits can be stressful, not just for your pet, but for you, as well. Not only do you have to make sure your fur baby is comfortable, but you have to keep track of all the questions and concerns whizzing through your mind. Not to worry. Whether you've decided to visit a new practice or are returning to your favorite animal clinic, we've compiled a list of important questions to keep in mind on your next vet visit.

1. Is my pet a healthy weight? This is a crucial concern for many pet parents considering that a recent online, international survey found that over half of household dogs and cats are overweight. Many owners can be in denial about their pet's weight, but it's important to ask your veterinarian if your pet is within an ideal weight range for their breed, size, and stature. This also applies if you suspect that your pet is underweight. 

2. Should my pet be on a specific diet? It's very important to provide your pet with a complete and balanced diet in order to keep them healthy and happy. Food product labels can be overwhelming and misleading, so be sure to seek advice from your vet in order to find quality products. If budget is an issue, ask them for affordable suggestions or alternatives.

3. Why does my pet do that? We all know pets have quirky behaviors and different personalities, but some behaviors can be worrisome. Be sure to keep a list of any behaviors that seem out of the ordinary as they occur, when they first occurred, and how often they've occurred since.

4. Is my pet up-to-date with their shots? Vaccines and immunizations can easily be overlooked, so it's a good idea to make sure that all of your pet's shots are current. It never hurts to check if there are new protocols or concerns in your area as well.

5. Are my pet's gums and teeth healthy? An estimated 75% of cats and about 80% of dogs over the age of three are affected by periodontal disease. This disease begins with plaque and tartar build up, and if left untreated, it can lead to more severe health issues in other areas of the body, like the heart, liver, and kidneys. Fortunately for you, your veterinarian is also your pet's dentist. Talk to them about how often your pet needs their teeth cleaned. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and many vets offer discounts for teeth cleaning and dental check-ups.

6. Does my pet need a blood test? Nobody likes needles, but blood tests screen for a variety of health issues, like kidney and liver disease, diabetes, and cancer. Blood tests are the best way of monitoring your pet's health over time, so find out when your pet had their last blood test and when they're next one is due.

7. What parasite prevention is best for my pet? Not only are parasites, like fleas and ticks, annoying, but they can also transmit deadly diseases to pets and humans alike. Luckily, there are a wide array of parasite prevention medications. Ask your vet which option is best for you and your pet's lifestyle. Remember that generic versions of prescribed medications are often available and more affordable.

8. What are these lumps and bumps? Lumps and bumps can develop as pets age, but unusual bumps or irritations could mean allergies, or more serious concerns, like cancer. If a bump is worrying you, talk to your vet to determine if a biopsy is necessary.

9. Where can I find emergency care for my pet during evenings, weekends, and holidays? Accidents and emergencies happen - the best we can do is be prepared for them. Veterinarians are obliged to give you information on 24/7 emergency vet care, so get in touch with your vet and make a plan in advance.  Keep a 24-hour clinic's contact information handy in case of emergency.

10. How often should I bring my pet to the vet? Vet visit frequency depends upon the health, breed, age, and lifestyle of your pet, and your veterinarian will recommend how often they should come in for regular check-ups. These should always be adhered to, despite any unforeseen illness or incidents. Remember - don't wait until your pet is ill to visit the vet! It's important to keep those routine check-ups.