If your dog isn't receiving an annual physical examination, they should be. Physical exam services are a standard aspect of veterinary care and are a necessary precautionary measure, intended to identify any possible medical conditions in the early stages. Annual physical exams for pets also allow your vet to make any dietary or general lifestyle recommendations for your dog that improve their overall health and wellbeing. What sort of preparation is needed before your dog's first physical exam?
Collecting Necessary Information
While the staff at the veterinary practice will perform a comprehensive exam, your preparation work will involve collecting necessary information that might be required to assess your dog's health. What kind of information should you have available?
Your Dog's Diet
It's helpful to have a list of all the food your dog consumes on a regular basis. This can involve noting the type of commercial pet food that your dog is fed, whether this is dry (kibble) or wet (from a can). If you prepare your dog's food yourself, using raw meat, grains, and vegetables, you should be able to tell staff the combination of ingredients you use. The quantity of food should also be noted, along with any snacks (including table scraps) or dietary supplements your dog regularly receives.
Physical and Behavioral
In terms of your dog's physicality or behavior, you will know what is considered (for lack of a better term) normal. Any abnormalities might not have warranted a visit to the vet when these issues seemed to pass of their own accord. And yet, any changes to the way that your dog moves or behaves should be noted, with practice staff informed during your dog's physical. These changes, however minor or temporary, can indicate an undiagnosed physical or cognitive issue, which might warrant further investigation.
Urine and Fecal Matter Samples
The majority of required data will be collected during your dog's examination, however, you may be asked to provide samples of your dog's urine or fecal matter. For dogs that sleep indoors, this task is best performed in the morning, when your dog is allowed outside, as this is when they're most likely to urinate. Keep them on a short leash to restrict their movement, which allows you to collect the sample. You will need to hold a suitable shallow container beneath their genitals as they urinate. The sample can then be transferred to a container with a lid, which should then be securely sealed. Both the collection container and the transportation container must be thoroughly clean to prevent cross-contamination. Fecal matter can be collected from the lawn and again, should be securely sealed in a clean container with a lid.
There isn't a lot of preparation work prior to your dog's physical examination, and it's largely a case of having the necessary information available. Of course, there's some effort involved in collecting urine or fecal samples, so it's wise to check whether this will actually be needed before going to the effort.
To learn more, contact a local veterinarian that offers services like annual physical exams for pets.