What to expect when you visit the vet

When bringing home your four-legged friend, it’s easy to get caught up in choosing shiny new toys and stockpiling puppy pads, you know – the fun part of having a pet! However, keeping them well is also a top priority, with 36% of pet parents saying that health is their primary concern for their animal.

One of the big choices you’ll make is which vet to take your pet to – as from routine vaccinations to emergency trips, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the service you’ll be getting. From doing the initial research to successfully completing your first appointment, we show you how to ensure you and your pet have a happy vet visit. 

Choosing a vet

Seeking out recommendations is good place to start – your fellow pet owners and the breeder or shelter where you found your companion should be good sources for a reliable endorsement.

Of course, if you’d like to ensure your vet is local or are looking for condition-specific specialists then it’s best to search through Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). They offer the most comprehensive information about vet practices and their services and facilities. Keep in mind that it’s illegal for persons not registered with RCVS to practice.

Before getting settled, it’s always best to make sure that your pet insurer will accept claims from the practice of your choice. You should then look into how the practice operates, for instance – what is their 24-hour care policy? If needs be, will they see your pet in the middle of the night at this surgery – and if not, how far will you need to travel?  Of course, you should also look for clean, well-maintained premises with adequate consultation and waiting areas. All good vets will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have, but most importantly ask yourself; ‘will my pet get the best of care here?’

Remember, as a pet owner you have a legal duty to protect your pets from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Your first visit

The first visit to the vets may be a little strange for your pet, so it’s important to have an idea of what to expect. Your pet is sure to have a full nose-to-tail examination to check they’re healthy from the start, with no underlying health problems. During this initial visit it’s likely that your practitioner will offer advice on nutrition, parasite control, training and behavior management and any other areas that you may want to discuss.

For puppies and kittens, there will be a primary course of vaccination – we’ve previously outlined the typical course you can expect here. You’ll also be able to discuss the benefits and details of microchipping and neutering your pet for you to keep in mind for your next visit.

There’s no denying trips to the vets can be costly, whether it’s a consultation or a reoccurring visit, and it can be a shock to the system when you receive the bill. However, it’s worth nothing that as there is no NHS equivalent for animals – costs will vary depending on a host of factors including diagnosis, treatment or even equipment used.  Thankfully, research has found that 75% of pet parents are confident that their insurance provides enough cover to pay for any treatments their animal may need. Whilst pet insurance won’t cover you for routine visits, such as health checks and vaccinations, it’s worth weighing up the cost of a monthly premium against a hefty vet bill if your pet were to become unexpectedly ill or injured.

Help your pet be comfortable

It’s not unusual for some animals to react badly when taken to the vet – usually out of fear or anxiety. However, there are small precautions you can take to help. Most veterinary surgeries will have a receptionist who can give your pet a warm welcome to help them feel at ease and start the visit off positively. Be sure to bring cats in a secure carrier or take dogs for a walk beforehand so they’ve had the opportunity to answer any calls of nature.

Try not to arrive too soon, as waiting around may cause your pet to get restless – it’s best to also keep them away from other excitable or nervous animals. Have treats to hand and ready to shower them with praise for their good behaviour – the key to a hassle-free vet visit is to make the appointments an enjoyable experience for your pets, and showing them there’s nothing to fear.

We love our pets and they're an important part of our family, they're reassuring and a constant presence in our lives. Pet Insurance provides peace of mind and can help to cover the cost of unexpected vet fees when your pet needs treatment due to an accident or illness.

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