Pet FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions: Pet Care

As a pet owner, you may have numerous questions about how to properly care for your pet. Some of these may be related to their veterinary care and the steps you can take as an owner to help them lead long and healthy lives. Here, we have included some of the most common questions and basic answers to help you get a better idea of what to expect and what you can do to help your pet. In addition to reviewing these, we welcome you to use our directory to find a veterinarian who can address your particular needs.

What types of services do veterinarians offer?

Depending on the veterinarian's specific services and area or areas of specialty, they may offer a broad range of services. They may treat small animals, household pets, farm animals, exotic animals or large animals, offering such services as emergency veterinary care, animal dentistry, animal surgery, holistic veterinary care, and even boarding or grooming. It is important to find out what services your vet offers, so you know what to expect and whether they will be able to meet your needs.

Should I find an emergency vet in addition to my normal veterinarian?

The answer to this question depends on whether your regular veterinary clinic offers emergency services. If your normal veterinarian is not open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is important to have the phone number and address of your local emergency vet. If your pet is injured late at night or at another time when your vet is not normally open, you should have an emergency vet lined up that you can call and/or visit should the need arise.

How often should I take my pet to the veterinarian?

For dogs, it is usually advised to bring them for a check-up once a year when they go in for their annual vaccinations. However, dogs with health conditions require more visits, and of course you will need to bring your dog to the vet if he gets sick. Puppies also need frequent trips to the vet's office until they are caught up on their vaccination boosters. And as your dog gets older, usually around age 6, you may want to come in for a check-up twice a year.

For cats, a yearly visit is sufficient unless your cat has a chronic medical condition, in which case you would need to come in more often. And like dogs, older cats may need to be seen twice a year.

When should I get my pet spayed or neutered?

In general, it is a good idea to get your kitten spayed between 5-8 months or neutered between 4 -8 months. Most people get their cat spayed or neutered around six months.

It's best to have a dog spayed or neutered between 5-6 months when their reproductive organs are still small and they haven't yet gone through puberty.

Why should I get my pet spayed or neutered?

There are several benefits to getting your dog or cat spayed or neutered. First and foremost, dog and cats that have been spayed and neutered tend to live longer and healthier lives. Spaying (sterilizing a female dog or cat by removing its ovaries, oviduct and uterus) reduces the risk of certain diseases, such as uterine and ovarian cancer. Neutering (sterilizing a male dog or cat by removing its testicles) reduces the risk of testicular cancer and prostate problems. Animals that are spayed/neutered also tend to be less aggressive and have fewer behavior problems. Once your cat or dog has been spayed/neutered they will no longer be able to reproduce, which is important if you want to prevent litters unwanted puppies and kittens.

How often should I get my cat vaccinated?

Most vets agree it's a good idea to get your cat vaccinated yearly. Make sure you get boosters for diabetes and rabies as well.

How long is too long for a dog to say in a crate?

A dog should never be left in a crate for more than eight hours at a time, especially if you have a puppy or a young dog. Although crating a dog is perfectly alright, it is important to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and has room to stretch his legs. If you are going to be gone for only a short period of time, try leaving your dog out of the crate to see how he behaves. You may find that crating is only necessary when you are gone for long periods of time.

When should I begin potty training my dog?

After a puppy reaches about 8 or 10 weeks you can start house training him. If you notice your puppy going to the bathroom in the house, pick him up and move him to where you want him to go, whether that be outside or on a piddle pad. When your puppy goes to the bathroom where he is supposed to, reward him for reinforcement. It will help the puppy learn more quickly.

Remember, house training is not always easy and you need to be patient. Like children, it can take a puppy several months to learn.

How do I find a good groomer for my pet?

Just like you would ask for recommendations for a hair dresser, the best way to find a good groomer is to ask around. The best groomers tend to have a loyal customer base. On your first visit to a new groomer, pay attention to how the groomer treats your pet and whether your pet seems comfortable with the groomer. If your instincts tell you this is not the groomer for you, then keep looking.

Are there particular breeds of dogs that are good around children?

Whether or not a dog is good around children depends a lot on how the dog was raised. Dogs that have been introduced and taught to socialize with children will get along with children better, regardless of their breed. That being said, there are certain breeds of dogs that have a reputation for being good with children, such golden retrievers, black labs, pugs, Bernese Mountain dogs, beagles, Boston terriers, bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Newfoundlands, huskies, Springer spaniels, Samoyeds and bearded collies. It is important to remember that even a golden retriever can exhibits signs of aggression toward children if he isn't properly trained.

Find a veterinarian in your area to get more answers to your questions about your pet.