Some questions pet owners should ask the vet : Dr. Dana Koch, correspondent

In last week’s column, we covered five of the best questions any new or veteran pet owner should discuss at their annual or bi-annual veterinary appointments.

Following are the remainder of the top 10 questions to ask:

Is my dog or cat predisposed to certain health concerns considering his breed?

This is a wonderful question to ask your veterinarian to gain a better understanding of each breed of dog or cat and which disease to be aware of and recognize. Early disease recognition may also help to treat or cure a disease faster and prolong your pet’s life.

There are also certain genetic screening tests that can be performed depending on the breed and age of your pet.

What is an ideal weight for my pet?

Most veterinarians will weigh your pet during an examination and evaluate your pet for proper body condition score.

A pet owner’s perspective of what is an ideal weight may be different than what a veterinarian feels is appropriate. An overweight or underweight animal can be predisposed to certain health issues including diabetes and arthritis.

How can I prevent dental disease?

Dental disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats. Bad breath is the first indication that your pet may have dental disease.

Pet owners are becoming more conscious of the role bad dental disease can play in the overall health of their animals. Studies in dogs have shown that periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver and kidneys.

Your veterinarian can discuss the proper technique for brushing teeth and what other products, such as water additives and dental treats, you can utilize to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

Which toys and treats are safe for my pet?

This is another great question to discuss with your veterinarian. Certain toys may put your dog or cat at risk for ingesting small pieces and creating an obstruction.

Also, there are a variety of treats sold at pet stores, and being aware of which treats can be safely used to reward your pet is another important aspect of being a responsible pet owner. Some treats can be harmful for dogs or cats with food allergies or can be made of tough material leading to broken teeth.

What is considered adequate exercise?

Exercise should be an important component of your pet’s lifestyle. Depending on the age, weight and breed of pet you own, your veterinarian can discuss what would be a proper amount of exercise for your beloved canine or feline.

For example, an older arthritic dog should spend less time chasing after balls in the backyard and more time doing physical therapy-type exercises. Additionally, a high energy dog such as a Jack Russell terrier generally requires more exercise and play time than a lower-energy dog, such as an aging great Dane.

It can be difficult to motivate an overweight cat that only wants to sleep and eat to chase a laser pointer or toy. Spending quality time with your cat and offering varied toys can help your cat live a healthier lifestyle.

Dr. Dana Koch, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, works for HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service. Her professional interests include dentistry, pocket pets, preventative medicine and internal medicine. She services Bucks County, Philadelphia and South Jersey.

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