Sooner or later your dog or cat will have to visit a veterinarian. Even if your pet is never sick a day in his life, he will still need annual check-ups and periodic vaccinations. Here are a few hints taken from an article in Better Homes and Gardens that will help make the next visit as pleasant as possible for you, your pet, and the staff at the veterinary clinic.
Get your pet accustomed to car rides before his first trip to the veterinarian’s. If his only car rides end at the veterinarian’s office, he may learn to hate or fear the car. Then you’ll have to fight him into the car and his general apprehension may lead to chronic carsickness even on future pleasure trips.
Demonstrate a positive attitude toward veterinary visits and your confidence will rub off on the pet. If you act nervous and apprehensive your pet will definitely pick up on your fear and become difficult and even dangerous to handle. Such unruly behavior may necessitate firm restrain and even the application of a muzzle.
Keep your pets safe and under control while waiting in the reception area. Leash train your dog at home rather than wrestling him away from other pets in the reception room. Keeping your cat under control in the reception room as well as in the car is relatively easy if you have a special cat carrier. Put your cats inside the carrier while still in the safety of your house.
Walk your dog before taking him into the reception room. Even the best-trained dogs forget their manners amid the strange sights, sounds and particularly exciting scents in a veterinary clinic.
Warn your veterinarian and the clinic staff if your pet is apt to bite. They’d rather you tell them than find out for themselves when a dog who “just loves everyone” bites the hand that treats him. Your veterinarian’s livelihood depends on the use of both hands so don’t fault him for being cautious. Also forewarn your veterinarian if your pet has an aversion to being touched in particular areas or if it likes to fight with other dogs.
Know your veterinarian’s hours and your appointment time and honor them. If you and your sick pet walk into the clinic without first calling for an appointment, don’t be upset over being made to wait while the doctor examines four or five other sick dogs and cats that had scheduled appointments. Walking in unexpectedly creates unneeded stress for the doctor and staff and is unfair to the other pet owners . If you are 10 or 15 minutes late for your appointment please consider that you will make every pet owner schedules after you wait an additional 10 to 15 minutes. If you find you can not keep your scheduled appointment make every effort to cancel it at least 24 hours in advance so that your time can be offered to another sick pet.
When you make an appointment let the receptionist know exactly what you are coming in for. If you schedule a nail trim or anal gland expression and then ask your veterinarian to examine your pet for an ear infection you may set him behind 10 or 15 minutes and make all others scheduled after you wait for that extra time. If you schedule an appointment for one of your pets to be examined and then walk in with 2 sick animals don’t expect that the staff or the doctor will appreciate your lack of respect for their appointment schedule. If you need to bring in a second animal call ahead and tell the receptionist that your visit is going to require more time. The receptionist will appreciate the call and do his or her best to accommodate you.
Try to get your pet to the clinic before his illness becomes an emergency. If you wondered all day and the day before whether or not your pet needed medical attention you shouldn’t be surprised if the veterinary staff doesn’t share your feeling of urgency.
Understand that it is difficult for the receptionist to know exactly how much time to schedule for each sick pet. If you are kept waiting please appreciate that the doctor may have had to take more time with a pet that was sicker than anticipated. Also realize that some exams may take more time because the pet is difficult to handle, the case is difficult to diagnose, or because the pet owner is very upset has lots of questions. Be assured that if it were your pet that was that sick he would spend the same extra time needed to properly diagnose or treat your dog or cat.
Urgent calls by pet owners requesting their sick pets be worked into an already full schedule are always taken seriously and every effort is made to accommodate their request. Please appreciate that accommodating such requests throws a huge monkey wrench into an already full schedule so don’t be “the boy who cried wolf” or you may find that at a later date your cries may not be heeded.
Follow through on your veterinarian’s home care instructions. If your veterinarian has prescribed certain pills or a medication to given to your pet at specified schedules, follow his instructions to the letter. And don’t stop administering the medication just because you run out of medication or because you decide that your dog or cat looks much better. If you have difficult administering the medication call your veterinarian for helpful hints on how to get the medication down.