The Vet, Your Dog and You
If you have a dog, you can bet that going to the vets will be a major part of your life especially during puppy hood. Going to the vets can involve many things including controlling your dog, understanding the procedures, paying the bill. Here are a few tips on how you can make a trip to the vets easier on your dog and on you.
A trip to the vets can be exciting, scary and a sensory adventure for your dog. All the different sights, sounds, and smells can really get your dog excited. An excited dog can be a difficult one to control, so you will have to be aware of this and be prepared to have your dog on a leash and to hold on tight to the leash, especially until your dog is used to the environment. There will be other animals in the waiting room that your dog will have to be able to get along with and get used to being in the same room as other dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and other animals. If you have a small dog, a carrier may be a good option.
Taking your dog to the vets is easier if your dog is well socialized. To do this, start when your dog is young. Have a puppy party at your house and invite other puppy owners to bring their puppies to your house. This allows your puppy to get used to other puppies in a controlled environment before he has to contend with a vet's waiting room.
Moving on to the exam room:
Usually the exam room includes an exam table, a bench or chair for you and some charts on the walls.
You will have to wait patiently with your dog, which after surviving the waiting room is probably ready by now for some quiet time. Give your dog some extra love and attention now and try to relax your dog with soothing tones and a favorite toy.
Bringing along rewards with you, a favorite toy, a few doggie treats or a hard bone can keep your dog distracted during an exam, a procedure or a shot. It can also be a way of rewarding your dog for good behavior.
Some vets require dogs to be muzzled during procedures so be sure to get your dog used to a muzzle before bringing him to the vets.
If the vet needs to do some lab tests always ask why, and what the vet hopes to find out. Make sure that the test is necessary, as you will be paying for it. Ask about fees before the test is done. If the vet has to do anything special like medicate your dog, or give a shot make sure you ask before it is done what exactly is going to be done and if there are any risks or side effects to watch out for.
Whenever a vet suggests surgery or an expensive treatment for your dog, get a second opinion from another vet, unless it is an emergency and there is no time for this.
After the exam:
Make sure that you have medical records of all the visits especially shot records. There are times when these may come in handy, like if you take your dog on vacation with you, or board your dog, or move.
After the exam, and you are at the front desk, read the bill or invoice carefully to be sure it is correct. You should always have a copy of the invoice to take home with you. Make sure you have a copy of any shots that are given. If you have a shot record bring this to the vets with you and someone will be glad to fill it in for you.
If this is your first time to the vets, ask about other services they provide. Some vets have an animal behaviorist on staff that may be able to help you with any training or behavior issue you may have with your dog. If you have a puppy ask your vet for obedience schools.
As you leave the vets office steer clear of any common ground that other dogs may have urinated or defecated on as this may be breeding grounds for parasites including fleas and ticks.