Fewer pet owners are taking their pets to the veterinarian for a yearly checkup. Sadly, as a result, preventable diseases like diabetes, heartworm or dental disease are on the rise. So why are so many pet owners forgoing their pet’s annual checkup?

Why are veterinarian visits declining?

There are a lot of reasons why pet owners are visiting the veterinarian less frequently. One of the major factors is concern about cost. The rising price of veterinary care, coupled with the recent economic downturn, means that more and more owners are putting off veterinarian visits until their pets are really sick.

Moreover, over the past few years, more pet owners have started to rely on Internet sources for information about their pet’s health. It’s important to be an informed pet owner, so online research can be helpful. However, online research is no substitute for your dog’s annual checkup, and your veterinarian knows exactly what to look for to make sure your dog is healthy.

Finally, many pet owners don’t understand why their pet needs an annual checkup. If your dog seems healthy, why bother to take him to the veterinarian? Even though your dog seems to be thriving, he may be hiding signs of illness — something your veterinarian knows how to recognize. Dogs and cats alike are renowned for being masters of disguised illness.

Why is it important to visit the veterinarian regularly?

Simply put, it’s always easier to prevent diseases than to treat them. At your dog’s annual checkup, your veterinarian may notice the beginnings of preventable issues like obesity, diabetes, or dental disease. Not only is it easier to treat disease in the early stages, but it’s often less expensive, too.

Your dog can’t tell you if he’s not feeling well, and many animals instinctively hide signs of illness or injury to avoid seeming weak, which is why regular visits to your veterinarian are important. If something’s wrong with your dog, your veterinarian is trained to recognize the small signs you may not notice. In addition, your veterinarian can run blood tests and analyze your dog’s stool sample to diagnose issues that you may not have noticed.

Remember that your dog depends solely on you to maintain his well-being, so do your part and make sure his yearly checkups are on the calendar. Visit the American Veterinary Medical Association to learn more about the trend in declining veterinarian visits.

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