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Being A Great Pet Owner

Tips To Make The Vet Visit Better For All

It’s a known fact in veterinary medicine that all the veterinary team is in this crazy field because we love animals. And, many, but not all, love working with the owners of those pets – you bring us joy along with your pet.

Building a fun and trusting relationship with a pet owner is a wonderful part of our work. It’s part of our partnership with you, the owner, to ensure that you understand your pet’s needs in good health and when ill. But we sometimes end up with frustrations and miscommunications that could be avoided with a little forethought and knowledge from the burden of expectations.

So, here’s a few tops on how to make the visit better for owners, pets and your veterinary team:

1. Be on time or even a few minutes early for your appointment and arrive with your pet on leash or in a carrier. We have appointments scheduled before and after your allotted time and when you come in 10-15 minutes late, we will not have as much time for you as we don’t want to be punishing the next appointment for your tardiness.

2. Tell the truth and provide all pertinent history. We hold no judgment if your dog ate something other than dog food, such as the pan of brownies, or got into the trash. We need to know details, especially if it is possible that they ate any of the “special” products that are legally available in Colorado. We are detectives trying to solve a mystery illness, and all clues will help us get to helping your pet recover faster.

3. Be honest financially. Owning pets is a privilege, but it also has an impact on your budget. For ill pets, we will offer a treatment plan of diagnostics and care that is appropriate for your pet, but we also understand that sometimes we cannot do all things at once and can tailor a plan that works to balance pet needs with financial realities.

4. Be proactive. If your pet has been ill all week, don’t wait until Friday at 4 p.m. to contact your veterinarian. If clinical signs such as diarrhea or loss of appetite persist or worsen longer than 12 to 24 hours, contact your veterinarian. Waiting on care for your pet can mean that your pet is sicker, meaning it could be more expensive to diagnosis and treat because of increased severity of disease.

5. Allow the staff to handle your pet during the exam. We are trained to keep everyone safe – you included – with proper restraint techniques. When needed, we will make you the provider of treats and distractions to allow us to handle your pet in the most efficient and stress-free way. And, sometimes, that may mean that we borrow your pet to examine them away from you, to reduce their protectionism.

6. For ill pets, bring appropriate fresh samples of poop or urine if you are able to. For example, if your pet is having signs of urinary tract infection with changes in urination, we want to be able to analyze urine for information. Or, if diarrhea has been going on a few days, bring a fresh sample – fresh meaning you picked it up immediately after production. If you’re not headed straight to the clinic, store the specimen in the refrigerator until appointment time. Please don’t bring a sample from the yard that was produced four hours before and will be full of contaminants by the time you pick it up. That makes analysis difficult.

7. Be compliant about medications and treatments. Our instructions for care and/or medications are not suggestions – they are your pet’s treatment and meant to improve or resolve their medical condition.

8. Ask questions or for more information. We want you to understand your pet’s diagnosis and prognosis, as well as their treatment. The more you know (without developing hypochondria), the better the care.

9. Don’t believe all you read on the internet, were told by the breeder or sold by the clerk at the store. The internet is full of unearned expertise and often wrong information. It’s great to research about your pet’s diagnosis or symptoms, but discuss them with your veterinarian so that you can make the best decisions and choices for your pet’s care. Dr. Google and other experts may not have attended veterinary school nor know enough about different species to offer safe recommendations regarding nutrition, symptoms, etc.

10. Bring your pet hungry to their preventive care exams – treats make all veterinary visits better. If your pet has food allergies, then bring a bag of your own safe treats for staff to give.

Above all, be nice to all the veterinary team members, not just the veterinarian. We are all here to help you and your pet. Berating the receptionist or nurse when you’re stressed doesn’t reduce stress. We know that you are worried about your pet and are here to help. Know too that we deal with hard diagnoses, sad cases, difficult owners and even death every day, but still ensure that we are offering you a smile, support and educating you about your pet’s needs.

Dr. Margot can be reached at

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