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4 questions you’re (probably) forgetting to ask your vet

PureWow logo PureWow 1/21/2019 letters@purewow.com (Sarah Ashley)

a dog looking at the camera © Twenty20

Asking questions is hard, especially when the answer might not be what you want to hear. We get it! But when it comes to your pet’s health and happiness, you’ve got to speak up. Animals rely on us to advocate for them at the vet’s office. So, do your dogs and cats proud by asking questions—especially these four that no one thinks to ask.

What diseases can I give to my pet?Your dog can give you rabies (hello, that’s why we get them vaccinated!). Rabies is a zoonose, a disease pets can pass to owners. There are also reverse zoonoses, diseases we can give to our pets. Viruses like the H1N1 have been known to jump from people to animals. Fungal infections like ringworm could also be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. Ask your vet if you’re concerned something you’ve got could affect your sweet pup or kitten.

Should my pet take supplements?Dogs and cats with joint, memory or weight issues may need dietary supplements. In fact, there are a slew of health problems that a vitamin or herbal supplement could help alleviate, depending on your pet’s current diet, exercise and medication regimen. Vitamin C has been used to decrease inflammation in animals and probiotics have eased gastrointestinal problems. Remember that animal bodies process vitamins differently than human bodies. Ask your vet first before administering anything—you don’t want your dog to overdose on fatty acids, do you?!

How often should I be brushing my pet’s teeth?This question is more a reminder to talk dental hygiene with your vet. Seriously. The first thing most vets will tell you when offering advice on preventative care is, “Brush your pet’s teeth!” If you’re unsure how to do it, ask. If you’re worried you’re not using the right tools or paste, ask. It’s a commitment to scrub those chompers daily (or every other day), but it’ll save you money—and Lassie pain—in the future.

Isn’t this thing my pet does hilarious?For real though: Explaining to your vet any weird behavior, even if you think it’s harmless, is more than just a conversation piece. An obscure habit your cat developed could be the result of a neurological condition. Dogs—and sometimes cats—who regularly press their heads against the wall for lengthy periods of time could have meningitis or a brain tumor. You won’t know until you ask. If there’s a certain behavior you notice routinely, start tracking it and mention your concern at your next visit. More than likely Shadow is just a goofball with bizarre habits like the rest of us.

Related: 6 Ways to Save Money on Pet Costs, According to a Veterinarian [Provided by Real Simple]

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