Understandably, many of us associate a trip to the vet with something going wrong - an emergency situation perhaps, such as an unexpected illness or sudden injury to our pet.
However, building a relationship with your vet for regular and routine care can be very valuable.
In many cases good, regular preventative care can help avoid medical emergencies.
One of the great challenges for vets and animal care is that animals can't tell us what's wrong.
Animals can also be very resilient and stoic and can become extraordinarily good to hiding their symptoms.
Subtle changes that might be almost undetectable except through clinical testing can indicate bigger problems.
That often means you pet might be suffering from a health condition for quite some time before the symptoms become serious enough for you to notice.
By making regular visits to your vet as part of your routine pet care you increase the chances that any problems can be identified early and quickly.
This means your pet is less likely to suffer from any unnecessary pain or discomfort without your knowledge.
Just as importantly, it might also mean that any problems can be successfully treated before they become more serious, improving the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Like humans, every animal is unique.
Some are prone to eating too much, some not enough, and some eat the wrong things.
By making regular visits to your vet as part of your routine pet care, you increase the chances that any problems can be identified early and quickly.
Some love to exercise lots - some not so much.
And many will have strange habits, little niggles and quirks in their body or system, that it's good to be aware of.
So, it's also really helpful for your vet to get to know you and your pet better.
That will help them understand what your pet usually looks like, how it behaves and this can help them to effectively diagnose and treat any issues.
Talking regularly with your vet can help you become a more confident and comfortable pet owner as well.
While there's a wealth of information available on the internet, nothing beats being able to ask your vet about any concerns you have, or seeking their advice on everything, from what to feed your pet to what kinds of toys to buy.
And if an emergency does eventuate, in those stressful circumstances, you might be grateful that you have a vet that you know and trust as well.
More frequent visits to the vet might even make the process a little less confronting for your pet.
Many pet owners will tell you their pets do not like going to the vet.
That's not surprising - if your pet only associates visits to the vet with pain, fear and trauma, that can make either a routine visit or an emergency situation even more stressful.
Regular trips to 'the place we shall not name' that don't involve anything too challenging - and might even involve a few treats - can help reduce the stress response and encourage your pet to associate the vet with good things as well.
So how often should you be taking your pet to the vet for a routine check?
Generally, an annual check-up, just once a year, is considered sufficient.
But of course, if in doubt, ask your vet.
To learn more about routine health care for your pets, visit the RSPCA's Knowledgebase website at adoptapet.com.au and search for veterinary care.