How to best prepare your pet for a visit to the vet

  • Dr. Mary Felt of the DuPage Animal Hospital in Villa Park examines a dog. Pet columnist Diana Stoll advises preparing in advance for your pet's visit with the veterinarian.

    Dr. Mary Felt of the DuPage Animal Hospital in Villa Park examines a dog. Pet columnist Diana Stoll advises preparing in advance for your pet's visit with the veterinarian. Daily Herald File Photo, 2015

By Diana Stoll
On Pets
Posted5/10/2022 6:00 AM

Just as you prepare to take your kids to the doctor, a little planning ahead is important when you take your pet to the veterinarian, too.

If it is your puppy's first doctor appointment, be sure to bring his records from the breeder or the shelter that list vaccines already administered and medications given.


If it is Fluffy's first appointment at a new clinic, bring her medical records from her previous vet.

Better yet, text or email those records a few days before the appointment.

If you don't have physical copies of the records, ask your past clinic to send them for you.

This will give the veterinarian and technicians time to look through them before your appointment, saving more of the appointment time for you and your pet.

Medical records are a general history of your pet's health. They include important information like results from lab tests, past diagnoses and surgeries, allergic reactions, and any medications that have been prescribed.

If Fluffy gets anxious or fearful when she visits a vet, there may be tips on how to make her experience as pleasant as possible.

New clients typically need to fill out forms with contact information.

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Many clinics have these forms available on their websites so they can be completed in the comfort of your home, giving you less to do when you arrive.

Even if you have taken Fido to the same vet for a few years, there are still ways to be better prepared for your appointment.

The vet or technician will ask a variety of questions about Fido's general health and how he's been doing at home.

It's amazing how easy it is to forget the name of the food you feed or the treats you give Fido or Fluffy when standing in an exam room. Write down the names, or take a photo with your smartphone, and pay attention to how much they eat or how many treats you give so you'll be ready to answer these questions.

If the vet determines Fido is overweight, or if he is suspected to have allergies, knowing the type and amount of food he is eating will help the vet make appropriate recommendations.

Also, bring a list of all the medications Fluffy takes at home.

While your vet will have a record of medications she has prescribed, she also wants to know about any vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter products given. Heartworm, flea and tick preventions will also be discussed.


Knowing all the medications your pet is taking is very important before a vet prescribes another treatment.

Drugs can interact with each other, causing an allergic reaction, affecting the efficacy of one or both of the medications, or changing the rate of elimination of drugs.

Make a list of any questions you want to ask. Just as the name of food you feed escapes you in the exam room, some of your questions might not occur to you until you are on your way home.

If you are seeing the vet because Fido is exhibiting symptoms of illness or injury like sneezing, coughing, limping, or an unusual behavior, take a video with your smartphone. The vet can take a look if Fido declines to exhibit the behavior for the doctor.

Being better prepared for an appointment with your veterinarian will help you and Fido or Fluffy get the best possible care.

• Diana Stoll is the Practice Manager at Red Barn Animal Hospital with locations in Hampshire, (847) 683-4788; and Gilberts, (847) 426-1000. Visit their website at

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