Not unlike children, pets are members of your family and as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to participate and partner in your pet’s care. But you don’t have to do it alone.
As a licensed veterinarian and medical director of Westbury Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Kimberly Luce stresses the importance of building a relationship with a provider that you trust. Barring any chronic illness or condition in your pet, a veterinarian typically only sees your pet once or twice a year. So regardless of how much knowledge and experience a veterinarian may have, your pet’s wellbeing is largely dependent on your level of involvement. Here are three simple ways that you can actively engage in your pet’s health:
One of the easiest ways that caretakers can participate and partner in their pet’s care is to be an advocate for their pet, and the best way to do that is to be informed. Take the time to learn all that you can about the breed, including what food is best, and how much exercise they need. Pay attention to your pet’s individual personality and disposition.
Arming yourself with information will help you prevent and identify changes in your pet’s behavior or health. While the internet can be a great resource, it is also full of contradictory and sometimes false information. Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian questions.
Beyond undergraduate school, veterinarians are required to complete a four-year post-graduate Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program prior to becoming licensed to practice. Many also pursue additional education and training in various specialty areas they may be interested in. Consequently, it is important for pet owners to comply with any care instructions recommended or prescribed by their veterinarians, as they truly have your pet’s best interest at heart.
“Don’t leave the vet appointment without making sure you fully understand the instructions,” says Dr. Luce. “And don’t hesitate to call if anything changes.”
The role of a veterinarian is to serve as a partner in your pet’s care and offer guidance to you as the primary caretaker. For the wellbeing of your pet, it is important to build a relationship with your provider. As with all relationships, communication is key.
Over time, through routine well visits, your veterinarian will get to know your pet and establish trends that will allow them to make more informed recommendations regarding your pet’s health. Additionally, the more information you are able to provide about your pet, the better.
“Owners are just as valuable as vets when it comes to their pets’ medical care and wellbeing. Together, we can help to keep each other accountable,” says Dr. Luce.
If you are looking for a veterinarian to partner in the care of your pet, Westbury Veterinary Clinic in Summerville is a full-service veterinary hospital dedicated to providing high-quality wellness and preventative care so your pets can live happy and healthy lives. Each veterinarian licensed and the practice is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association—one of the most challenging certifications available in the field of veterinary medicine. For more information, visit WestburyVC.com or call (843) 873-2761 to schedule an appointment.