When it comes to caring for your pet, one of the most important aspects are vet visits.
However, not every pet owner knows how best to prepare for these appointments and miss out on the opportunity to get the most out of the check-ups.
Or, for fear of being judged, they choose to avoid vet visits altogether until an emergency arises.
What happens at a vet visit?
Your cat or dog will receive immunisations shots as required, as well as a comprehensive medical examination and testing to monitor any issues. Blood and urine tests can reveal information about your pet's kidney and liver function, hormone levels, and whether they are physically healthy.
Don’t put it off
Ideally, most veterinary clinics would like for you to bring in your pet for check-ups at least once a year. However, if you’ve been putting off the visit for a while, have just found the time amid work and family obligations or perhaps have suddenly noticed something amiss with your pet that you’d like to address, book an appointment ASAP. By further delaying the visit, you are allowing time for more issues to arise with your pet.
Many pet owners who have delayed their visits carry a deep fear that they will be judged by their vet when, in reality, they just have your pet’s best interests at heart and do not want them to experience unnecessary discomfort. Vets are also trained to treat animals from all backgrounds, in an array of conditions. If you’re caring for your pet properly, you should have nothing to fear.
Treat emergencies as emergencies
If your pet is injured, was in any sort of accident, ingested something they should not have, or that you know is poisonous or are suddenly behaving out of character – throwing up, drooling excessively, rapid heart rate – take them to see an emergency vet immediately. Pet owners may feel the need to make their pets look more presentable (once again, for fear of being judged).
However, washing, brushing, and trimming their nails or fur is unnecessary in such a situation. So long as there are no signs of neglect or abuse, you should not be concerned. Vets know pets are messy, dogs and cats love to roll in the dirt, swim in puddles and lounge outside - do not have to be pristine before the very visit, especially in the case of an emergency.
When you arrive at the vet’s clinic, you’ll likely have to fill out forms and wait for your name to be called. This time can be troubling for pets with an aversion to examination rooms. However, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Help ease their anxiety with their favourite toys to keep them entertained. A leash or carrier will also come in handy to contain them in a manner that is safe for everyone.
While in the examination room, be sure to pack treats that the vet can use to keep them distracted (if needed), or you can simply reward their good behaviour afterwards with their favourite snack. This will also train them to associate vet visits with positive feelings.
Make a list of the foods and treats you’re giving to your pet. You could also snap a picture of the nutritional information on the back. This way, the vet will be able to provide information on a variety of topics, including nutrition and pet weight.
If your pet is experiencing an unusual medical problem, consider recording it with your phone. Things like tremors or limping cannot always be observed on command. Lastly, bring a stool sample in a plastic bag. Faeces allow vets to check for intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia. Even if the vet doesn’t ask for it or it isn’t necessary, it’s best to be prepared just in case – it’ll save you from rescheduling or rushing home to fetch one. If it’s not needed, toss it in a bin on your way home.
Write a list of questions
A vet visit is a perfect opportunity to ask health-related questions about your pet. They are aware of your pet’s medical history, and therefore, would be the most knowledgeable on how to best care for your pet. Before your visit, write down your medical questions so that they’re ready for asking and you don’t miss out on getting vital information.