October is National Pet Wellness Month. More than likely you visit the doctor and/or dentist at least once a year. Are you doing the same for your pet? Because cats and dogs age quicker than us, taking them to the veterinary hospital once a year is like you going once in five to seven years! October is National Pet Wellness Month (NPWM); celebrate by committing to your furry friends’ health with annual wellness exams. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends annual wellness exams at a minimum, and as your pet gets older, AAHA suggests that the frequency of visits should be determined on an individual basis, taking into account the pet’s age, species, breed and environment. Talk to your veterinarian about what is right for you and your pet. So, why take your pet in for a checkup at least once a year; “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke,” right? Wrong. It’s all about prevention! Why do you take your car in every 3,000 miles for an oil change, get a physical exam each year at your own doctor’s office or visit the dentist to have your teeth cleaned every six months? You do it to check on your overall health, catch issues before they become problems and prevent future catastrophes. Your pet shouldn’t be any different. When you go in with your pet for a wellness visit, your veterinarian will request a complete history of your pet’s health. Don’t forget to mention any unusual behavior that you have noticed in your pet, including: Coughing, diarrhea, eating more or less than usual, excessive drinking of water, panting, scratching or urination, vomiting, weight gain or weight loss. Your veterinarian will also want to know about your pet’s daily behavior, including his diet, how much water he drinks and his exercise routine. Your veterinarian may ask: Does your pet have trouble getting up in the morning? Does your pet show signs of weakness or unbalance? Does your pet show an unwillingness to exercise? Depending on where you live, your pet’s lifestyle and age and other factors, your veterinarian may also ask about your pet’s exposure to fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites. He or she will develop an individualized treatment and/or preventive plan to address these issues. During a wellness exam, your pet will get a complete “tune-up,” just like you would take your car or bike in for, examined from head to toe. When was the last time you took the four-legged friends in for a checkup? Celebrate NPWM and schedule an exam today!