(NC) Animals require regular health check-ups just like we do. And devoted pet owners need to be their voices when it comes to keeping pets in optimal health.

For example, did you know you can use your time at an annual exam to ask nutrition questions or discuss behaviour concerns? Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s big health picture at their next visit.

Early disease detection. Just because your pet appears healthy, doesn’t mean there isn’t something going on under the surface. Annual exams are a perfect opportunity for veterinarians to detect diseases and ailments that may not be obvious in the early stages. This could prevent disease progression and get your beloved animal on the path to good health.

Nutritional counselling. We all know that eating a balanced diet is important to maintain strength, energy and overall good health — and the same goes for your pet. An annual exam is the perfect opportunity to ask your veterinarian for tips to ensure your pet is getting the most out of their diet. Obesity, for example, affects one out of every three pets. Your veterinarian may be able to detect warning signs that aren’t as obvious to you.

Behavioural problems. A veterinary clinic is a safe place to ask questions about behaviour issues and training. Did you know a well-trained dog is statistically more likely to live a longer life, because they are less likely to run out into traffic or be aggressive with other dogs? Have an open discussion with your veterinarian about training tips to make your four-legged friend the best they can be.

Looking for a veterinary resource? Check out www.ovma.org to find one in your area.

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