Celebrating pet week last month was a way for the American Veterinary Medical Association to remind pet owners that regular visits to a veterinarian is an important part of pet ownership.

“This year’s theme, ‘Love Your Pet, See Your Vet,’ reminds pet owners that regular veterinary medical checkups can detect disease early and keep your pet healthy and happy for many years to come,” the AVMA announced in a press release last month. “According to the 2012 AVMA U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographic Sourcebook, nearly 90 percent of dog owners and 75 percent of cat owners indicated that routine check-ups and preventive care are either very or somewhat important. However, the same study revealed that from 2006 to 2011, the number households not visiting the veterinarian increased by 8 percent for dog owners and 24 percent for cat owners.”

“Regular veterinary visits are important because many times pets will hide symptoms of illness, so you need your veterinarian’s skill and expertise to keep your pets healthy,” said Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA. “Providing pets with regular preventive care is the key to a healthy and long life for your pet, and it can save you hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars by preventing or identifying problems earlier, when they may be easier to treat and less expensive to solve.”

Pet week was a reminder on how important veterinarians and veterinary assistants are in the fight to improve healthcare for animals, especially as pet ownership in America continues to increase.