Apart from making sure you have your pet with you, what else should you do to ensure the trip to your veterinarian as worthwhile as possible for all involved? Our chief vet Andrew Bucher gives his top 10 tips…
1) Control your dog in the waiting room – if using a retractable leash, keep it locked in the shortest position. There is no need to explain why, I hope.
2) Please bring your cat in a carrier, not in your arms. Cats MUCH prefer being enclosed and safe (i.e. inside their carrier with their favourite blanket), especially when they’re somewhere unfamiliar. As vets, we’re also legally responsible for the safety of your pet once you’re registered and inside the building, so please meet us halfway.
3) Please listen to, and believe, us! Saying “that lump isn’t really bothering him, “his teeth are fine”, “he’s too old for surgery” doesn’t help you or your pet. PLEASE also follow the aftercare advice we give you – without you, the treatment won’t work.
4) Tell us if you’re struggling – we’re pet owners ourselves and we totally understand that feeding a tablet to a cat twice a day is not an easy feat. Plus, we have plenty of tricks up our sleeves to make life easier so it’s worth asking!
5) Come prepared for your visit. Before you arrive, write down all the important observations you’ve made, such as when you first noticed the problem, how it has progressed (e.g. slow onset and then faster?) is the intensity changing, does it happen at a particular time of day, and so on.
6) Don’t wait. “What do you mean he has been lame for 3 days? She has been losing weight for how long? He’s been vomiting for how long?” All questions which go through our minds on a regular basis. Be observant and if something isn’t right, act immediately.
7) Product knowledge – make sure you are as informed as can be on the products you use for your pet’s health. Know what to look out for regarding the side effects of under and over dosing and educate yourself regarding your pet’s condition as there are many products out there that can be used as supplementary therapy. If in doubt, always ask your vet!
8) Consultation time – if you have not been to the vet in a while and are concerned about more than one issue with your pet, please do ask for a longer initial consult. Normally a double consult will do (20-30min). This allows your vet the time to carry out a thorough initial consult without the need to rush. This is especially important for you as well as there will undoubtedly be much information to absorb, digest and enquire about.
9) Revisit appointments– please turn up! Even if your pet “looks better.” If not, you risk returning weeks or months later because the problem has recurred, and the very unfortunate thing about this is that most conditions are harder to treat the second time round… you have been warned.
10) And finally… if you know your dog has a tendency to bite (i.e. a fear biter) when in stressful or unfamiliar situations, please tell us first and not just after we are bitten.
That’s it really, and in return we promise to give your pet the best care it can possibly receive.