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How to Prepare for a Visit to the Veterinarian

By PetcoLori on Apr. 28, 2017

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When it comes to your pets, you want the very best, and that includes knowing the best tips and tricks. These seven tipsstraight from a former veterinary technicianwill help make your pet's next trip to the veterinarian stress-free:

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1. Do not feed your pet prior to your visit. If diagnostics are indicated, it is usually better if they are done on an empty stomach. If your pet is on medications, please call ahead for instructions from your veterinarian.

2. Bring a fresh stool sample. It can be refrigerated, in an airtight container, if need be. Do not bring in old, dried-up samples, as they cannot be used. Also, it is rare that your veterinarian will need more than a couple of grams of stool (think the size of your thumb) so bringing the entire "deposit" is not necessary.

3. Do not let your pet urinate on the way into the office. If labs are being run, your veterinarian will often require a fresh urine sample.

4. Be honest. When you are asked if your pet vomited or had diarrhea, or is coughing or sneezing, let your veterinarian know. Even if they only throw up or cough occasionally.

5. Do not book your appointment in a hurry—there will often be a wait. If an emergency or a very sick pet arrives, your veterinarian may be running late as they try to stabilize the patient. Try to be understanding. If it were your pet, you'd want your veterinarian to be focused on your pet's care, too. If your veterinarian asks for treatments for your pet, there may be additional wait time. There are often only one or two technicians in the back and sometimes pets do not cooperate, so, be patient.

6. Make a list of all medications your pet is on, and write down how often you are giving them. It may seem redundant that you are asked this at every visit (and yes, they do have the information on file) but your veterinarian likes to make sure that what you are giving and what you were instructed to give match up.

7. Bring your pet on a leash or in a carrier. Your pet may be friendly, but that doesn't mean the other pets waiting in the waiting room are.

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36 Comments
Comments
by James Hobusch
‎11-05-2015 08:47 PM

I like what this article says about being honest with the vet. I take my dogs health very seriously, and I should be as honest with the vet as I am with my own doctor. Thanks for sharing, this article brought up some very helpful tips!

I like what this article says about being honest with the vet. I take my dogs health very seriously, and I should be as honest with the vet as I am with my own doctor. Thanks for sharing, this article brought up some very helpful tips!

Posted on Nov. 5, 2015
by breck lewis
‎11-24-2015 05:39 AM

These  are some really good tips on how to bring your pet to the vet. I especially like the one about not feeding your pet prior to the visit because you get better diagnostics results on empty stomach. I struggle really bad to get my dog to not get so nervous about going to our appointments. Thanks for sharing this article because I will have to try out your tricks. 

These  are some really good tips on how to bring your pet to the vet. I especially like the one about not feeding your pet prior to the visit because you get better diagnostics results on empty stomach. I struggle really bad to get my dog to not get so nervous about going to our appointments. Thanks for sharing this article because I will have to try out your tricks. 

Posted on Nov. 24, 2015
by Logan Murphy
‎12-22-2015 07:24 AM

I like how you advised, "Do not book your appointment in a hurry - there will often be a wait.' This is really good to keep in mind. We will need to take our dog to the veterinary for a check up when we have a free Saturday. I think that will help us not feel rushed. Thanks for the helpful tips!

I like how you advised, "Do not book your appointment in a hurry - there will often be a wait.' This is really good to keep in mind. We will need to take our dog to the veterinary for a check up when we have a free Saturday. I think that will help us not feel rushed. Thanks for the helpful tips!

Posted on Dec. 22, 2015
by Kate Welling
‎02-10-2016 04:55 PM

Should one bring a stool sample "just because" or should I have a better reason, like if its related to my worries concerning my dog's health? I also have no idea how I would stop my dog from urinating if he needed to go? I have learned the hard way that unless my pet is dying, my appointment will have to wait!

Should one bring a stool sample "just because" or should I have a better reason, like if its related to my worries concerning my dog's health? I also have no idea how I would stop my dog from urinating if he needed to go? I have learned the hard way that unless my pet is dying, my appointment will have to wait!

Posted on Feb. 10, 2016
by Community Manager
‎02-11-2016 08:45 AM - edited ‎05-26-2016 01:12 PM

@Kate Welling Thank you for your question; fecal tests are generally advised on an annual basis. If your pet is going in for its annual physical, or if the stool has been unusual lately, it is a good idea to bring along a sample. Puppies and recently adopted pets should always bring a sample to their first visit. 

Regarding the urination, the temptation to urinate is always strong when a dog walks up to the vet's front door (there are so many smells!) If possible, pick up your pet and carry from the car to the waiting room. If this is not possible, walk your pet in as quickly as possible so they don't have the opportunity to sniff and eliminate. 

Accidents happen - if they gotta go, they gotta go! If tests are sent and your pet was unable to provide a urine sample, talk to your veterinarian about coming back in to provide the sample. Many times, labs are run in "package deals" and you don't want to pay for something that you didn't get. 

I hope this helps!

@Kate Welling Thank you for your question; fecal tests are generally advised on an annual basis. If your pet is going in for its annual physical, or if the stool has been unusual lately, it is a good idea to bring along a sample. Puppies and recently adopted pets should always bring a sample to their first visit. 

Regarding the urination, the temptation to urinate is always strong when a dog walks up to the vet's front door (there are so many smells!) If possible, pick up your pet and carry from the car to the waiting room. If this is not possible, walk your pet in as quickly as possible so they don't have the opportunity to sniff and eliminate. 

Accidents happen - if they gotta go, they gotta go! If tests are sent and your pet was unable to provide a urine sample, talk to your veterinarian about coming back in to provide the sample. Many times, labs are run in "package deals" and you don't want to pay for something that you didn't get. 

I hope this helps!

Posted on Feb. 11, 2016
by Lillian Schaeffer
‎02-29-2016 03:48 PM

These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to avoid feeding your pet prior to a vet visit. My husband and I just got a puppy from my sister, and we want to make sure we take good care of him. We want to take him to a vet in a couple of days, and we'll be sure to wait to feed him until after his visit that day. Thanks for the great post!

These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to avoid feeding your pet prior to a vet visit. My husband and I just got a puppy from my sister, and we want to make sure we take good care of him. We want to take him to a vet in a couple of days, and we'll be sure to wait to feed him until after his visit that day. Thanks for the great post!

Posted on Feb. 29, 2016
by Justin Knox
‎03-18-2016 06:09 AM

Thank you for the help. I recently bought my first dog and will be taking him to the vet for the first time next week. I did not realize that a stool sample may be needed. Should that be a habit for every visit to the vet? 

Thank you for the help. I recently bought my first dog and will be taking him to the vet for the first time next week. I did not realize that a stool sample may be needed. Should that be a habit for every visit to the vet? 

Posted on Mar. 18, 2016
by Braden Bills
‎03-18-2016 07:33 AM

Lately my dog, Rufus, has been throwing up a lot more than he should be. I was going to take him to the vet, but I decided to see what tips I could find about doing this. I'll make sure I'm honest to my vet so that they can treat him with what he needs. Thank you very much for sharing!

Lately my dog, Rufus, has been throwing up a lot more than he should be. I was going to take him to the vet, but I decided to see what tips I could find about doing this. I'll make sure I'm honest to my vet so that they can treat him with what he needs. Thank you very much for sharing!

Posted on Mar. 18, 2016
by Jeffrey Goodman
‎04-12-2016 07:45 AM

My wife and I just got a black lab puppy. We are looking for a vet to take our puppy too. I didn't know that the pet shouldn't eat before coming to the vet. I will make sure to do that.

My wife and I just got a black lab puppy. We are looking for a vet to take our puppy too. I didn't know that the pet shouldn't eat before coming to the vet. I will make sure to do that.

Posted on Apr. 12, 2016
by Faylinn
‎04-25-2016 07:52 AM

I am taking my dog to the animal hospital this afternoon, because it has been sick for a few days and I am concerned. However, I had no idea that I shouldn't feed it before going and see the vet. She has already eaten this morning, but how long before the visit do you think that my dog should go without food? 

I am taking my dog to the animal hospital this afternoon, because it has been sick for a few days and I am concerned. However, I had no idea that I shouldn't feed it before going and see the vet. She has already eaten this morning, but how long before the visit do you think that my dog should go without food? 

Posted on Apr. 25, 2016
by Charles Kemp
‎05-16-2016 11:11 AM

I have never thought about not feeding your pet while you visit with the veterinarian. That would make sense so you don't have to worry about clean up while you are there. I know they also figure that the vets don't want to deal with that either.

I have never thought about not feeding your pet while you visit with the veterinarian. That would make sense so you don't have to worry about clean up while you are there. I know they also figure that the vets don't want to deal with that either.

Posted on May. 16, 2016
by David Hawkins
‎05-17-2016 07:09 AM

I had no idea that letting your pet use the bathroom before a visit could be an issue. I've never had to take my pet to the vet so I was unaware that a stool or urine sample could be require. I'll have to do as you advise and possibly save some in a container for analysis later. Thanks for the great tips and info!

I had no idea that letting your pet use the bathroom before a visit could be an issue. I've never had to take my pet to the vet so I was unaware that a stool or urine sample could be require. I'll have to do as you advise and possibly save some in a container for analysis later. Thanks for the great tips and info!

Posted on May. 17, 2016
by Jackie Oliver
‎05-26-2016 08:03 AM

I really like what you said about bringing your dog to the vet with an empty stomach. I never would have thought of that, but it makes sense. If they need to take care of something, and they need to have not eaten for a while, then you can do it right then and there, and not put it off. I also really like your tip on making a list of all the medications your pet needs, and how often they need them. That way, you don't forget, and if someone else needs to give them to your pet, they know exactly what to do. 

I really like what you said about bringing your dog to the vet with an empty stomach. I never would have thought of that, but it makes sense. If they need to take care of something, and they need to have not eaten for a while, then you can do it right then and there, and not put it off. I also really like your tip on making a list of all the medications your pet needs, and how often they need them. That way, you don't forget, and if someone else needs to give them to your pet, they know exactly what to do. 

Posted on May. 26, 2016
by John Carston
‎06-16-2016 12:22 PM

I like the piece of advice you gave for trying not to book an appointment for my pet in a hurry. I'll keep this in mind to avoid a wait, like you said. This should allow me ample time to prepare my pet for the visit as well.

I like the piece of advice you gave for trying not to book an appointment for my pet in a hurry. I'll keep this in mind to avoid a wait, like you said. This should allow me ample time to prepare my pet for the visit as well.

Posted on Jun. 16, 2016
by Brooke McAvoy
‎06-28-2016 06:51 AM

I appreciate your tip about not feeding a pet before the visit. I have never even considered how this would be helpful with diagnosing. It's funny how many things you forget to think about that the vet may need to sample. Especially if your pet is particularly sick, I think these tips are really important. Thank you!

I appreciate your tip about not feeding a pet before the visit. I have never even considered how this would be helpful with diagnosing. It's funny how many things you forget to think about that the vet may need to sample. Especially if your pet is particularly sick, I think these tips are really important. Thank you!

Posted on Jun. 28, 2016
by Lillian Moore
‎07-14-2016 12:02 PM

I was surprised by the suggestion to not feed your pet prior to going to the vet. That would not have crossed my mind as a complication when my pet gets her shots or needs any other treatment. Is there a time limit to which your pet can't eat? With human surgeries or other procedures, you are indicated to come on an empty stomach, does your pet not eat for that same reason?

I was surprised by the suggestion to not feed your pet prior to going to the vet. That would not have crossed my mind as a complication when my pet gets her shots or needs any other treatment. Is there a time limit to which your pet can't eat? With human surgeries or other procedures, you are indicated to come on an empty stomach, does your pet not eat for that same reason?

Posted on Jul. 14, 2016
by Wade Joel
‎07-18-2016 12:25 PM

Taking pets to the vet can be hard. Especially if they are really energetic or rambunctious. I dId don't know that you should not feed them before visiting the vet, I'll be sure to feed them after we go to the vet next time. 

Taking pets to the vet can be hard. Especially if they are really energetic or rambunctious. I dId don't know that you should not feed them before visiting the vet, I'll be sure to feed them after we go to the vet next time. 

Posted on Jul. 18, 2016
by Kenneth Gladman
‎07-18-2016 01:22 PM

I didn't realize that you should be bringing a stool sample to your visits. My dog seems to be very healthy and happy but we can never be too careful. I will remember this for our next visit.

I didn't realize that you should be bringing a stool sample to your visits. My dog seems to be very healthy and happy but we can never be too careful. I will remember this for our next visit.

Posted on Jul. 18, 2016
by April Cook
‎07-19-2016 07:19 AM

I like your last tip, to bring your per on a leash or in a carrier. My dog is pretty calm, but I wouldn't want to risk him acting out in a strange place around other animals. i also like your tip to be honest with the veterinarian. In these situations i think it is better to overshare instead of excluding things that might be helpful. Thanks for the help! 

I like your last tip, to bring your per on a leash or in a carrier. My dog is pretty calm, but I wouldn't want to risk him acting out in a strange place around other animals. i also like your tip to be honest with the veterinarian. In these situations i think it is better to overshare instead of excluding things that might be helpful. Thanks for the help! 

Posted on Jul. 19, 2016
by Bélise
‎07-27-2016 03:00 PM

Thank you so much for your easy to read infographic on 7 tips for taking your pet to the veterinarian. I had never thought of the importance of bringing in your pet on an empty stomach in case of certain diagnostics and medication. I will remember these tips the next time I bring in my new dog. 

http://tlcforpets.net/ 

Thank you so much for your easy to read infographic on 7 tips for taking your pet to the veterinarian. I had never thought of the importance of bringing in your pet on an empty stomach in case of certain diagnostics and medication. I will remember these tips the next time I bring in my new dog. 

http://tlcforpets.net/ 

Posted on Jul. 27, 2016
by Kendall Everett
‎08-10-2016 12:09 PM

Being honest with your vet is important to the health of your pet. The more honest you are, the more the doctor will understand your pet's condition and better diagnose the issue. Writing down symptoms as they occur would be a good way to remember everything you need to talk to your doctor about. 

Being honest with your vet is important to the health of your pet. The more honest you are, the more the doctor will understand your pet's condition and better diagnose the issue. Writing down symptoms as they occur would be a good way to remember everything you need to talk to your doctor about. 

Posted on Aug. 10, 2016
by Kody Loveless
‎08-17-2016 06:42 AM

I really like the idea of bringing my dog to the vet on a leash or in a carrier. I could see how some other pet might try and get into a fight with eachother. I think it is just good edicate to bring you pet in a carrier or on a leash. I will have to make sure to do that next time I go to the vet. 

I really like the idea of bringing my dog to the vet on a leash or in a carrier. I could see how some other pet might try and get into a fight with eachother. I think it is just good edicate to bring you pet in a carrier or on a leash. I will have to make sure to do that next time I go to the vet. 

Posted on Aug. 17, 2016
by Jade Brunet
‎08-24-2016 12:43 PM

Thank you for these points of how to have a successful visit to the vet. I did not know that one should not feed a pet before embarking. Another thing to consider would be to prepare the leash and other needed items before hand to reduce stress.

Thank you for these points of how to have a successful visit to the vet. I did not know that one should not feed a pet before embarking. Another thing to consider would be to prepare the leash and other needed items before hand to reduce stress.

Posted on Aug. 24, 2016
by Erika Brady
‎09-22-2016 06:48 AM

I recently bought a cat this summer and it is the first pet I have ever owned. I am wanting to take her to the vet, but have not been sure what the process will be like. That is good to know that I should not feed my cat prior to the visit. Any recommendations on how much time before I go that I should stop feeding them? Thanks for the helpful tips! http:// http://www.thehonolulupetclinic.com 

I recently bought a cat this summer and it is the first pet I have ever owned. I am wanting to take her to the vet, but have not been sure what the process will be like. That is good to know that I should not feed my cat prior to the visit. Any recommendations on how much time before I go that I should stop feeding them? Thanks for the helpful tips! http:// http://www.thehonolulupetclinic.com 

Posted on Sep. 22, 2016
by Kate Hansen
‎09-22-2016 11:25 AM

Sometimes taking my dog to the vet can be a hassle since she doesn't like it much. Thanks for the tip of not feeding your pet before taking them to the vet. I didn't realize it's better for them to be on an empty stomach for diagnostics. Maybe that will help keep my dog in check as well. 

Sometimes taking my dog to the vet can be a hassle since she doesn't like it much. Thanks for the tip of not feeding your pet before taking them to the vet. I didn't realize it's better for them to be on an empty stomach for diagnostics. Maybe that will help keep my dog in check as well. 

Posted on Sep. 22, 2016
by Johnny McCarron
‎10-17-2016 01:58 PM

I never really thought about not feeding my dog before taking him to the vet. However, as you said, if the dog needs diagnostics done, then you really want to be sure that the have any empty stomach. The last thing that you want is for things to come back that are right. Do you have any advice about choosing a specific vet?

I never really thought about not feeding my dog before taking him to the vet. However, as you said, if the dog needs diagnostics done, then you really want to be sure that the have any empty stomach. The last thing that you want is for things to come back that are right. Do you have any advice about choosing a specific vet?

Posted on Oct. 17, 2016
by Georgia Boothe
‎10-24-2016 09:55 AM

Thanks for mentioning that you should be patient if the vet is running behind. A good vet will be doing their best to fulfill each patients' needs as quickly and efficiently as they can, but sometimes circumstances are simply out of their control. It never helps to put pressure on the vet through impatience. Like you said, you'd want the doctor to be focused on giving the best care to your pet too, so I always try to show a little empathy when there is a bit of a wait.

Thanks for mentioning that you should be patient if the vet is running behind. A good vet will be doing their best to fulfill each patients' needs as quickly and efficiently as they can, but sometimes circumstances are simply out of their control. It never helps to put pressure on the vet through impatience. Like you said, you'd want the doctor to be focused on giving the best care to your pet too, so I always try to show a little empathy when there is a bit of a wait.

Posted on Oct. 24, 2016
by Lillian Schaeffer
‎10-28-2016 10:41 AM

These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to avoid booking your appointment with a vet in a hurry. My husband and I are going to be getting a dog, and we want to make sure he's healthy and has all the proper vaccinations, so we want to get him to a vet soon after we pick him up. We'll definitely make sure to book well in advance so it doesn't become a hurried situation. Thanks for the great post!

These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to avoid booking your appointment with a vet in a hurry. My husband and I are going to be getting a dog, and we want to make sure he's healthy and has all the proper vaccinations, so we want to get him to a vet soon after we pick him up. We'll definitely make sure to book well in advance so it doesn't become a hurried situation. Thanks for the great post!

Posted on Oct. 28, 2016
by Dennis Sanchez
‎11-04-2016 02:44 PM

I've been looking for a vet for my cat and wanted to know how I might ensure we have the best visits possible. You mentioned being honest about your pets behaviors, vomiting and sneezing. Once you decide on a vet, you want to ensure that they can fully help your pet, and that requires you being as open and honest as possible about your cats health. Thanks for the tips.

I've been looking for a vet for my cat and wanted to know how I might ensure we have the best visits possible. You mentioned being honest about your pets behaviors, vomiting and sneezing. Once you decide on a vet, you want to ensure that they can fully help your pet, and that requires you being as open and honest as possible about your cats health. Thanks for the tips.

Posted on Nov. 4, 2016
by Finn Stewart
‎11-22-2016 12:30 PM

It's interesting how you suggest to bring a fresh stool sample before you take your dog to the vet. Usually I make sure my dog goes to the bathroom before we go so he doesn't have an accident in my car. However, this is a good idea so that it makes the vet's job easier when you get there.

It's interesting how you suggest to bring a fresh stool sample before you take your dog to the vet. Usually I make sure my dog goes to the bathroom before we go so he doesn't have an accident in my car. However, this is a good idea so that it makes the vet's job easier when you get there.

Posted on Nov. 22, 2016
by olivia nelson
‎12-08-2016 02:46 PM

I agree that you would not want to feed your pet before you take it to the vet. I would imagine that finding out what is wrong with your pet would be easier if they are on an empty stomach. I'm looking for a new vet clinic for my dog so I'll have to bring her for a visit when she's on an empty stomach.

I agree that you would not want to feed your pet before you take it to the vet. I would imagine that finding out what is wrong with your pet would be easier if they are on an empty stomach. I'm looking for a new vet clinic for my dog so I'll have to bring her for a visit when she's on an empty stomach.

Posted on Dec. 8, 2016
by Braden Bills
‎12-22-2016 10:19 AM

My cat has been coughing up a lot lately, and I want to make sure she's healthy. It makes sense that I would want to take her to the vet! I'll be sure to be honest when it comes to her symptoms. It's important they know what's happening so they can treat her properly!

My cat has been coughing up a lot lately, and I want to make sure she's healthy. It makes sense that I would want to take her to the vet! I'll be sure to be honest when it comes to her symptoms. It's important they know what's happening so they can treat her properly!

Posted on Dec. 22, 2016
by Troy Blackburn
‎01-09-2017 07:54 AM

That's a great tip you mentioned about making a list of all medications your pet is on and writing down how often they're given those medications. I've heard that some treatments can be harmful to your pet if they're on certain medications, so it's of the utmost importance that the vet knows of all the medications. I'll have to keep these great tips in mind the next time I take my dog in to the clinic.

That's a great tip you mentioned about making a list of all medications your pet is on and writing down how often they're given those medications. I've heard that some treatments can be harmful to your pet if they're on certain medications, so it's of the utmost importance that the vet knows of all the medications. I'll have to keep these great tips in mind the next time I take my dog in to the clinic.

Posted on Jan. 9, 2017
by olivia nelson
‎02-27-2017 05:48 PM

I agree that you would want to send your pet to the vet on an empty stomach. I would imagine that especially if there will be any procedure done it would be important to not feed them beforehand. My husband and I are looking for a vet for our dog so we'll have to be sure to not feed her before we take her to visit them.

I agree that you would want to send your pet to the vet on an empty stomach. I would imagine that especially if there will be any procedure done it would be important to not feed them beforehand. My husband and I are looking for a vet for our dog so we'll have to be sure to not feed her before we take her to visit them.

Posted on Feb. 27, 2017
by Max Jones
‎03-29-2017 01:02 PM

I just got a new dog, and we're getting ready for our first trip to the vet next week! I'll have to try and remember to not let him urinate before we get there! I hadn't even thought about that. thanks for the tips!

I just got a new dog, and we're getting ready for our first trip to the vet next week! I'll have to try and remember to not let him urinate before we get there! I hadn't even thought about that. thanks for the tips!

Posted on Mar. 29, 2017
by Taylor Hicken
‎04-10-2017 03:43 PM

I didn't know that people took samples of their pets stool, I think it's a little odd. My pup has been needing a visit to the vet recently, but I keep forgetting to schedule an appointment. I'll have to find a vet near by, that way it's more convenient. 

I didn't know that people took samples of their pets stool, I think it's a little odd. My pup has been needing a visit to the vet recently, but I keep forgetting to schedule an appointment. I'll have to find a vet near by, that way it's more convenient. 

Posted on Apr. 10, 2017
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