Preparing for a Vet Visit

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Whether this is your first visit or not there are many things to prepare and consider before heading to visit the vet… With a little bit of preparation and understanding, you can make the visit go smoothly and ensure that your dog gets the best possible care. Here’s a checklist of things to consider when preparing for a vet visit:


  • Please arrive 5-10 minutes early. We will review any changes to your contact information and get you checked in.
  • Bring along a copy of your dog’s medical records. This includes vaccination records, as well as any previous diagnoses or treatments.
  • If your dog is on any medications, bring them along to the appointment, along with the dosage instructions.
  • Make a list of any current symptoms or concerns you have about your dog’s health. Be as specific as possible, including when the symptoms started, how often they occur, and any other relevant details. This will help the vet diagnose any issues and determine the best course of treatment.
  • If your dog is having a medical issue that is difficult to explain then try capturing it on video! Many symptoms, such as limping, can be difficult to observe while in the veterinary office
  • if recommended by the vet.a sample of your dog’s feces for testing. This can help diagnose gastrointestinal issues or parasites. and is used in annual parasite checkups.
  • If your dog has an appointment for a urinary issue, then it is essential fo have a urine sample to test. A clean plastic container with a tight-fitting lid is perfect. slide the container into your dog’s urine stream and keep it in the fridge until your appointment. But, keep in mind after four hours urine can become contaminated. Therefore, a urine sample should be collected just before your appointment or brought right in after collection for testing.
  • Bring your dog’s favorite food and/or treats to your veterinary appointment. Coming to the vet can be stressful, even for outgoing dogs. We even recommend withholding food before appointments so that we can feed and help them relax. But, dogs with medical issues like diabetes or geriatric dogs should not have fasted!
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  • Consider bringing a crate or carrier to transport your dog, especially if they are anxious or prone to getting injured while traveling.
  • Keep your dog on a leash or in a carrier while in the waiting room. This will help prevent any accidents or injuries, and will also help keep your dog calm and controlled.
  • If your dog has anxiety about vet visits or is likely to hurt himself or other dogs due to the fear talk to your vet about prescribing a mild sedative to reduce the anxiety, the goal is a successful vet visit.

Transporting your dog

A positive travel experience sets the stage for a good veterinary visit. Most dogs like car rides, but are safer and more relaxed when contained in a carrier or a seat-belt restraint. If your dog isn’t used to car travel try taking your dog for brief car rides before the appointment, play quiet music, and speak in a reassuring tone of voice. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your appointment, so you can arrive feeling calm and collected. If your dog gets car sick, let the vet know. They may be able to give you medication to help.

Using a crate

Unfortunately, many dogs associate a carrier only with going to the veterinarian. Here are some ideas for making the carrier a more friendly and less threatening place for your dog.

  • Leave your dog’s open carrier in the house, with a cozy blanket, treats, and favorite toy inside.
  • Feed your dog’s meals inside the carrier.
  • Consider spraying a pheromone analog (calming scent), such as Feliway for cats or Adaptil for dogs, on the blanket inside the carrier.
  • Place your dog inside their carrier for varying amounts of time to learn that the carrier is not only for veterinary visits.

Stay Calm to Help Your Dog be Calm

Many dog owners say their dog “knows” they are going to the veterinarian long before their appointment. If you are nervous about how they will behave, your dog may also become anxious. Try to project a calm demeanor prior to the veterinary appointment, and avoid excess reassurances, or behaving as if something unusual is going to happen.

Exercise Your Dog

In the event your dog isn’t injured and is going to see the vet for one of his yearly checkups or vaccinations, a good way to get rid of that excess energy is to take him out for some exercise. By playing a game of fetch or just taking a few laps around the park, your dog will feel a little more at ease, which creates less likelihood for behavior problems at the vet.

Handling an Aggressive Dog

Even wHandlinhen your dog is trained in dog obedience, sometimes he doesn’t get along with other dogs. If your dog is not friendly with other dogs, his dislike of other dogs will be amplified in this high-stress situation.

In order to avoid any acting out on your dog’s behalf, notify the staff ahead of time and keep him outside of the building and away from other patients until the vet is ready to see him. That way, you won’t be adding any extra anxiety onto yourself and your dog.

Fun fact about vet visits: Did you know that many vets offer “fear-free” visits, which are designed to minimize stress and anxiety for both dogs and their owners? These visits may include things like pheromone diffusers, calming music, and other techniques to help your dog feel more at ease.

Follow Up Visits

Unfortunately, not all dogs will receive a clean bill of health which means that you may have some post-appointment homework to do. Follow your vet’s care recommendations and schedule follow-up appointments before you depart from your appointment. We understand life is busy, but your dog’s health should be a priority. Try your best to set calendar reminders for monthly flea prevention dosing, six to 12-month wellness visits, and annual dental cleaning.


Fun fact about vet visits: Did you know that many vets offer “fear-free” visits, which are designed to minimize stress and anxiety for both pets and their owners? These visits may include things like pheromone diffusers, calming music, and other techniques to help your pet feel more at ease

Overall, the key to a successful vet visit is preparation and understanding. By taking the time to think about your dog’s needs and any concerns you may have, you can help ensure that the visit goes smoothly and your dog gets the care they need.

How can I help my dog feel more comfortable at the vet’s office?

Gradually acclimate your dog to the vet environment by taking them for short, non-medical visits. Use positive reinforcement with praise and treats to create a positive association with the clinic.

What should I bring to my dog’s vet appointment?

Bring your dog’s medical records, any medications they are taking, a list of questions for your veterinarian, and a leash or carrier to keep your dog secure and comfortable.

Should I fast my dog before a vet visit?

Fasting your dog is not usually necessary unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so, such as for certain blood tests or surgical procedures. For routine check-ups, feeding your dog as usual is typically fine.

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My passion for dogs started in childhood growing up in a household full of dogs. I have been breading American Bulldogs since 1998, as a breeder, show judge, trainer and lifelong student of dogs and their behavior. I am the owner of this website whose roots go back to a labor of love started in 1998.

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