Taking your dog to the vet needn’t be stressful. With a little bit of time and preparation, you can make it a positive experience for both you and your pet.
Regular health checks for your dog are essential to ensuring your dog stays happy and healthy.
Whether it’s your dog’s first visit or they’re a veteran, keep reading for our essential advice on taking your dog to the vet.
How to prepare
Preparation is key to ensuring your visit goes as smoothly as possible. Once you’ve booked your appointment, you should think about any pet care questions you’d like to ask your vet or nurse.
If your dog is feeling sick or unwell, write down all their symptoms to take with you; this will help your vet in diagnosing the root of the issue.
Some appointments, such as diagnostic tests and surgery, will require your dog to fast for up to eight hours beforehand, so make sure you double-check with the receptionist upon booking. Similarly, you may be asked to collect a urine sample on the morning of the appointment to bring with you.
It’s a good idea to walk your dog before your appointment to burn off some excess energy. They will most likely need to sit still during examination, so tiring them out beforehand will help keep them calm.
If it’s your dog’s first visit, or you’re going to a new vet, you may want to drop by the practice in advance to familiarise them with the environment and meet the team.
Recognising their surroundings when it comes to the day of the appointment with help with their sense of security. Having a good visit with lots of praise and attention will ensure no negative connotations are associated with the building or the people, making future trips much easier.
What to bring to the vet
When visiting the vet, don’t forget to bring:
- a favourite toy or blanket to help keep them calm
- a lead to keep control in busy waiting areas
- a urine sample (if necessary)
- a special treat to reward them afterwards.
If you’re visiting the vet for the first time, you may also need to bring your dog’s medical records and any medications they’re currently taking.
During the appointment
The best way to ensure a successful vet visit is to remain calm – your dog will be able to sense fear or anxiety, which will make them feel nervous and unsafe. Remember, your vet is always there to help you and your pet’s wellbeing is their priority.
Appointments will vary depending on what it’s for, but it’s always important to listen to any advice your vet has about your dog’s health. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have; your vet or nurse will be more than happy to help.
You may need to offer comfort or hold your dog if they become nervous or if they need injections. Speaking calmly and gently will help put them at ease.
Sometimes a follow-up appointment is required, so don’t forget to speak to the reception team to organise this at a time to suit you.
Reward your dog for good behaviour at the end of the appointment with their favourite treat. This will help them make a positive association with going to the vet and will encourage them to be well-behaved during their appointment.