The first vet visit can be stressful for both you and your pet. Luckily, with some preparation, you can make the experience better for all parties. Ideally, you’ll find a vet with whom you and your furry friend will have good relationship that will last a lifetime.
Before the vet visit
You can decrease a lot of the anxiety your pet will feel if you take some time to prepare them for their first pet visit. A few days before the visit, you can take out your pet’s carrier so they get familiar with it. You can put some treats inside the carrier so your pet is encouraged to go inside it. If your dog is not already familiar with car rides, now is a good time to get them used to travelling inside a car.
It is a good idea to get your pet comfortable and used to being touched in areas like ears, paws and belly. Taking regular care of your pet includes a lot of handling of them anyway. You should brush their fur, trim their nails and brush their teeth regularly. In addition to this, give your pet a more thorough check every once in a while. This includes checking their face, legs, tail and teeth. Getting used to this kind of handling will make the vet visits easier for your four-legged pal.
During the vet visit
Take a nice walk with your dog before visiting the vet to get them relaxed. It is a good idea to get to the vet station a bit early so you are ready for the examination right when you are called. In the waiting area, keep your cat or a smaller dog inside their carrier and a bigger dog on a short leash. Even if your dog is the most gentle creature, the other animals in the room might have problems with your dog coming close to them. A busy, unfamiliar environment can get anyone stressed, so it is important that you stay calm and collected the whole time. Keep your voice soft and calm and act normally to show your pet that there is nothing to worry about.
When the vet meets your pet for the first time, they will need a lot of information about them in order to get familiar with their new patient. If your pet has vaccination records or prior/current medical treatment going on, let your vet know about them. Bring the documents with you to the vet. It is best to ask beforehand what kind of information you should bring along or if there are other procedures you should do, such as not feeding your pet before the visit.
Your veterinarian will ask some basic questions about your pet, such as their eating and drinking habits and their general history, nature and temperament. It helps to be prepared for these questions. Also, this is the situation where you have your vet’s total attention so get those nagging questions resolved now! There are no stupid questions and your vet is there to help you and your pet. Asking questions only shows that you care and want the best for your furry friend.
Your pet will be given a basic physical examination of your pet’s coat, eyes, ears, body and teeth. The vet will administer vaccinations or discuss with you about the vaccination scheduling. If you want to spay or neuter your pet, this first vet visit is a good time to discuss about that as well. If your vet prescribes a medication and you are not sure how to give it to your pet, ask away! Your vet will be more than happy to teach you the procedure.
Taking care of a pet can be expensive, so don’t be afraid to ask about finances. Vets are usually flexible when it comes to payments and possible options. These can include paying large bills in installments or offering alternative, cheaper procedures. Be honest about your ability to pay. Vets are generally very understanding and co-operative.
After the vet visit
When the visit is over, remember to reward your pet with treats, pets and playing. This will help them to calm down and associate a vet visit with a nice reward afterwards.