Ideally, you should bring a pet to the veterinarian as soon as you acquire it, regardless of health history. However, even in the case of emergency or routine visits this checklist can help you save time.
The First Visit
- Personal information
When you are changing vets or seeing any kind of vet for the first time, you will be required to fill out paperwork, just like you would for a doctor visit. If you have recently moved, make sure you know your new address and contact information. This includes your workplace particulars.
- Medical records
If you are changing vets for an existing pet, you also need to bring the health and immunization records. Even better: Have the records transferred ahead of time. Make sure you know the requirements of the prior office in regards to releasing a pet’s records. Some might require signatures. Keep in mind that past medical history includes records from specialty hospitals and emergency clinics in addition to the ones from the regular veterinarian office.
In case of an emergency visit, inform the vet about your pet’s sensitivity to anesthesia and drug allergies, if applicable, even if you do not have any records on hand.
- Diet information
Bring a list of foods that your pet eats. This includes daily meals (dry and wet) as well as treats, snacks and rewards. Also include a schedule of your pet’s eating habits, whether it has access to food all the time or gets fed at the same times each day.
Since everyone operates on a tight schedule, prepare a written list of questions, even if you have already established a relationship with your vet. Of course these vary from case to case, but consider asking about de-worming, nutrition, flea prevention, micro chipping, behavior, socialization and grooming.
Why is this important? Remember that your vet’s role is to address any issues, even if they do not seem directly related to illness. He needs to know about the pet’s living environment in order to make a proper diagnosis. Also, he is your top source for advice on anything from grooming to potty training.
A New Pet
When you are bringing in a newly adopted pet, you will also need to fill out information for the new pet. To make this easier, bring any adoption or breeder’s papers with you. You most likely will need to bring a fresh stool sample as well. If in doubt, call ahead.
Since the vet will ask a variety of questions in regards to the new pet, it’s a good idea to prepare the answers. Obtain a list of the pet’s behavior patterns from the prior owner. You’ll need to know about bathroom habits, potty or litter box training, whether the animal had access to the outdoors, what kind of food was used, chewing habits (for puppies), if the pet used toys and of course what prior care your new pet received.
Being prepared for any vet visit not only helps the owner, but the pet as well. After all, vet visits can be stressful enough for all parties involved.