It’s circled on your calendar and there’s a reminder in your phone. That dreaded annual vet visit. Some pet parents are as anxious about going to the vet with their dogs as they are to go to their own doctors. Admit it – your vet’s going to notice your dog’s extra pounds and maybe there’s that lump you’ve been hoping will go away.
For many of us, that yearly vet visit occurs in the spring so we can load up on parasite prevention and update vaccines for vacation boarding before jetting out of DFW. Our local Dallas area vets are very busy this time of year so be sure to call ahead of time to guarantee an appointment for your dog. As a vet nurse, here are some insider tips and ways we wish you’d prepare yourself and your dog before you walk through our doors.
- Question time – Make a list of questions you’d like to discuss with your vet. Like all doctors, vets are busy people with many patients. Coming prepared to your visit, which usually lasts only about 15-20 minutes, will make you the best advocate for your dog.
- Prescriptions – If you’re going to need refills of prescriptions, call 24 hours ahead and let the nursing staff prepare them ahead of time. There’s plenty that nurses do for your pet during your visit that you don’t see – preparing and processing samples and vaccines, making notes – so please be considerate and save everybody some time.
- Samples – We’re going to need some samples to be sure you dog is healthy. Most vets will ask for a poop sample and possibly a urine sample. Pulling these from your dog makes her experience far less enjoyable and will make subsequent visits more stressful. Dogs are very giving of their samples, so please bring them with you. Unpleasant? Yes. Less stressful on your dog and your vet staff? Yes, again.
- Release some stress – Vet visits can be stressful for both you and your dog. Take a walk or let your dog run around at a local area dog park prior to her visit. A tired dog is a happy dog. And one that’s less stressed and reactive.
- Know your dog – If your dog doesn’t do well with other dogs, let the receptionists know when you make your appointment. Knowing ahead of time can help them prepare for your safe arrival. Walking into a lobby full of strange dogs can be scary for even the most well-balanced pup.
- Full disclosure – Your dog’s vet visit isn’t the time for secrets and half-truths. If they eat junk, behave badly, pee on your carpets, eat underwear – let your vet nurse and vet know. There’s really nothing we haven’t heard. And if your dog bites or has bitten people in the past, tell your vet staff at the start of your appointment! Don’t let anyone risk themselves over your embarrassment.
- Be positive! – Dogs are masters of picking up on our own feelings. If you’re stressed or nervous, your dog will be, too. Keep calm and remember that going to the vet is an opportunity to take care of your best friend. A good vet will partner with you in helping her. And that is a very good thing!
Do you need suggestions on what to ask your vet on your annual visit? My next article will give you some guidelines on talking to your vet.