Trips to the veterinarian can be stressful for owners and pets, but being prepared can ease your visit and improve the quality of your pet’s appointment. The Denver Area Veterinary Medical Society (DAVMS) recommends the following tips for pet owners when getting ready for an appointment.
Cat owners should give their feline friends time to get used to the carrier before heading to their appointment. Leave the carrier out and entice your cat to go inside with a treat and a comfort object, such as a toy or an article of your clothing. Treats can help reduce stress for dogs as well before, during, and after an appointment.
Just like when people go to the doctor, veterinarians will need to know about your pet’s medical history and symptoms. Having all your pet’s information together before the appointment will help you answer questions and help your veterinarian provide the best care possible. Make a checklist of what you need, and inform the receptionist of anything you don’t have before your visit.
Important information to have about your pet includes medical records with their vaccinations, past or present illnesses, treatments and surgeries it received, and past or current medications. Additional facts your veterinarian will need to know are how old your pet is, what kind of food you’re providing, where you got the pet (e.g. from a shelter, breeder, or litter), appetite, “bathroom” habits, behavior, and if it goes outdoors or has traveled recently. If your visit to the veterinarian is because of a suspected illness, know what symptoms your pet has and for how long.
On the day of your appointment, show up at least ten minutes early to fill out paperwork; some veterinarians provide the option of filling out paperwork online beforehand. This helps you and your veterinarian stay on schedule, which allows them to give your pet the time and attention it deserves.
Finally, don’t be afraid to discuss your concerns and ask questions. This is your time to get professional answers and opinions, and asking a question about your pet might provide useful information about an issue or prompt the veterinarian to examine somewhere that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Whether your pet is coming in for a health concern or for an annual wellness exam—something every pet needs every year, even if it seems healthy—being prepared will help your pet receive the most thorough care. Following these tips helps your veterinarian help you with keeping your pet healthy and happy.
For more tips on how to keep your pet safe and healthy, visit the DAVMS Resources for Pet Owners page.