Top 10 things your veterinarian wants to say

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A puppy chews on a shoe.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

You’ve made the call and the appointment is on the calendar. Fido or Fluffy is going to the vet! Whether your appointment is to help diagnose and treat a potential problem (here’s where pet insurance can come in handy, by the way) or for a routine wellness examination and vaccines, here are 10 things that your veterinarian would really like you to know prior to stepping foot in the clinic:

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1. Use a leash
Even if Fido is the best-behaved dog on the block, there could be a clinic cat on the loose, birds on a perch up front, or other less-well trained dogs present in the waiting room. For your dog’s safety and the safety of the veterinary staff, use a leash when in a veterinary clinic every time.

2. Use a carrier for cats
Cats are particular creatures and for some reason, a veterinary clinic can bring out the worst in even the friendliest and best-behaved cat. If your cat were to get loose in the parking lot and run (this has happened!), you may have a very serious situation on your hands.

3. Please, please don’t bathe your pet immediately before the appointment
Of course you want Rosco looking his best for his check up, but no veterinarian wants to smell like a soggy, wet dog for the rest of the day. If you are going to bathe him, allow time for him to dry off, or if he’ll allow it, use a low setting on a blow dryer to speed up the drying process.

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4. Bring samples
If Muffy has been having diarrhea, it may seem gross, but the doctor will likely want to run a sample to see what may be causing the underlying pet health issue. Same goes for urine, or unidentified insects or worms you see on your pet, sometimes even vomit can be helpful! If it isn’t needed, it can always just be thrown away. Use a clean container, such as Tupperware, or a Ziplock baggy.

5. Don’t let you dog urinate right before the exam if there is a possibility labwork might be performed
Often screening labwork will include a urinalysis, so be sure your dog has urine in her bladder beforehand. And, of course, if your pet is being seen for a urinary problem, a urine sample will be needed; don’t let your dog void it out on the clinic lawn!

6. Consider taking pictures or video of the problem
It never fails: limps go away, coughs can’t be conjured and that horrible sneeze will be nowhere in sight the minute you step foot in the vet’s office. Consider using your smart phone to capture the behavior that you are concerned about on video to show the veterinarian.

7. Please warn us if your dog may bite
Veterinarians understand the clinic is a scary place and even sweet dogs and cats may bite out of fear. By letting the veterinarian know beforehand that your dog is anxious, we can change how we approach him or her in the exam room to try and make it a more relaxing veterinarian trip. Likely we’ll try to move slower, talk a little more softly, and avoid making direct eye contact to be less threatening. Worse case scenario, we may opt to muzzle you pet prior to the examination in order to keep everyone safe.

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8. Don’t bring other pets ‘along for the ride’
The exam room can be anxiety provoking enough without it being filled with more bodies! Let other pets stay home, or leave them with another family member in the waiting room.

9. Don’t feed your pet if you think there is a chance sedation will be needed
Of course we all know food should be withheld prior to surgeries, but if at all possible, food should be withheld prior to sedated procedures as well. This might include procedure to flush an ear, or stitch a wound.

10. Try to refrain from helping restrain your pet
We understand you feel the need to comfort your pet. I find that pets will often do better if the person most likely to ‘save’ them (you) isn’t hovering.

Using good common sense will go a long way towards making the vet visit comfortable and pleasant for everyone involved! One final word of veterinary wisdom I will leave you with is something every vet I know would like to say. Research cat and dog insurance. This is one of the best things you can do to help protect both the health of your pet and the special bond you have. Pet insurance can cost around $1 a day and makes the best treatments more affordable for pet owners. If you haven’t already, get a free quote from Pets Best Insurance today and learn why they are the “best pet insurance.”

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