1. As soon as you arrive, tell staff if your pet requires special attention.
Fearful animals, for instance, can then be put in an exam room or quiet area to keep them from getting more agitated.
2. Come with a list of questions.
A checklist with a few (i.e., not 50) things you want to discuss is helpful for both client and clinician.
3. Bring previous medical records to a first-time checkup.
Knowing details such as when and which vaccinations have been given will help speed up the visit. If you don’t have the records, tell the receptionist when you make the appointment. That way, staff can track them down before you arrive.
4. Know what medications your pet is taking.
Some clients just grab the bag of pet drugs on the way out the door at home, but a careful list will do just fine.
5. Ask for an estimate.
If the doctor is rattling off several tests and procedures she’s about to run, inquire how much the bill will be. This will prevent a lengthy discussion—or conflict—at checkout.
Veterinarian Chris A. Miller is co-owner of AtlasVet in Northeast DC. His colleague Dr. Brittany Cartlidge contributed to this story.