Responsible pet ownership starts with regular visits to the veterinarian. Given their shorter-than-human lifespan, your dog or cat should be getting a checkup at least once or twice a year. Depending on your pet’s vaccination schedule, they may go more frequently when they’re young, but establishing and maintaining good pet health means keeping up with vet visits as they age.

Trips to the vet can be, shall we say, challenging. Cats, in particular, may be averse to leaving the comfy confines of their home, but there are ways to reduce stress for both of you. Acclimating your cat to her carrier when she is a kitten is good practice (and avoids the running-away-and-hiding-under-the-bed scenario). Dogs tend to like going for car rides. Take your pup on joyrides, so he won’t associate getting into the car with going to the vet. And many pets don’t mind a trip to the veterinarian’s office, especially if you choose a vet that’s a good fit for your little friend.