Veterinary visits can be fun for some. Some dogs just love to get out and about, no matter what the reason. But for other dogs, probably most cats, and even some humans, veterinary visits can be a bit stressful. If you or your critters are in this latter category, don’t worry; you’re not alone.
The good news is that a lot of the stress of a veterinary visit can be reduced with just a little pre-planning. Here are 12 tips, compiled from our Vets, nurses and receptions that should go a long way toward helping create a stress-free vet visit.
Avoid Peak Times – We will always do our best to get you and your pet an appointment at a time of your convenience. Still, certain times are better than others from a speed of service point of view. Our clinics are typically at their busiest first thing in the morning (e.g. 7 – 8 AM) and at pick up time (e.g. 4:30 – close). Saturdays can also be very hectic and very unpredictable. If you can schedule your pet’s appointment at a time other than these peak times, you’ll likely be in and out much faster.
Bring Only One Pet at a Time – Our average client has 2.3 pets. Naturally, it is very tempting to bring them all in at once for their check-ups - one trip and you’re done for the year. Common sense says that’s the most efficient way to do it. Of course you are certainly welcome to do so. We even offer a multi-pet discount. Do be aware though, that it can be difficult to have a conversation with the vet and keep up with multiple “kids” on the ends of the leashes.
Bring a List – If you bring multiple pets or if your pet has multiple problems or concerns to be addressed, then write them all down ahead of time. That way, nothing gets overlooked. This can be doubly important if the person bringing the pet in is not the primary pet care-giver.
Bring Your Reminder Letter – if you received a reminder letter or post card, please bring it with you.
Allow Time for Paperwork – In today’s world, there will nearly always be some paperwork to be signed-off on when a dog or cat is brought in for surgery, dentistry, boarding or grooming. Please allow about 10-15 minutes for this. Grooming Appointments often also require a brief meeting and discussion with the groomer who will be grooming your pet.
Allow time for a Patient Release Discussion – when you pick your pet up after for surgery, dentistry, boarding or grooming, the Vet or a clinic representative, will likely want to talk to you about how things went. This is typically only a 5-10 minute discussion and it is important. Please do be patient with us on those rare occasions when a late afternoon emergency puts us behind a bit. We know you would expect our full attention if your pet was having the emergency.
Expect the Unexpected from Your Pet – remember your pet is not in his or her normal surroundings when in the clinic. Funny smells, odd sounds, strange people, medical procedures – any or all of these could cause even the best behaved pet to react unpredictably. It’s natural, of course. Be sympathetic and supportive of your pet but also be in control of your pet.
Please Keep Cats in Travel Carriers and Dogs on Leashes – We love all of our patients, but the truth is they don’t all play well together.
Avoid Retractable Leads in the Clinic – Retractable leads or leashes are fantastic when you are out for a long walk with your buddy, but they can become problematic if the catch loosens or if you need to bring your dog under control quickly in a crowded area for some reason.
Call Ahead for Prescription Refills – If you’d like to pick up a pet medication refill, calling ahead could save you a 10-20 minute wait.
Ask for Estimates for Everything – Avoid surprises at check-out. All reputable clinics will gladly provide pre-treatment estimates.
Bring any Previous Veterinary Records –If you are coming in as a new client, or if you are seeking a second opinion, you can save a lot of time by bringing with you any previous veterinary records that your pet may have.