How to Take My Dog to the Vet

dog drinking water

There are many reasons why you will need to take your dog to the vet. Dogs will need a yearly checkup most of their life but may need to go frequently due to special circumstances.

Whatever the reason is let’s be very clear about one thing. There is a certain way we want to go into that type of environment. Take the time to put in some hard work before the visit to the veterinarian.

You will be happy that you did and for younger puppies you want to make sure you are creating a great first impression. Positive association is key to having a trusting dog and vet relationship.

Reasons to Schedule Vet Appointment

You may want to visit the Vet for the following reasons:

  1. Vaccinations
  2. Annual Checkup
  3. Microchip
  4. Heartworm Test
  5. Fecal Exam
  6. Geriatric Screening
  7. Dental
  8. Allergy Testing
  9. Possible Hip Dysplasia
  10. Eye problems

The list can go on and on.

First Vet Visits

When you have a puppy, they will be doing two things that are foreign to them. Sitting in a moving vehicle and seeing a veterinarian. We need the dog to not develop any type of anxiety or distrust in this process.

We recommend using the following formula in this order and letting the dog come in calm and leaving even calmer. The best thing in the world is when professionals tell you how trained your dog has been the entire visit. Here’s what to do.


I am not shy about this and I never will be so let’s get to work. Let’s take the dog out and get wore out. You can do this with a walk, a run, or some treadmill work.

If you are a constant reader of this blog, we recommend that you mix them all up and use some right after the other. First things first and the first thing is always exercising.

  1. Night Before
  2. In the Morning
  3. After you get to the Vet

Night Before

You called the vet and got the appointment for the next day. Night before let’s get them out on a run or a walk. We want to get them exhausted before the next day. When you come home if you’re not convinced that the dog has had enough throw them on the treadmill for 45 minutes.

In The Morning

In the morning take them out for another run or walk. Make sure the night before or the morning is a run. I prefer the morning of to be a run. Get them going for about 45 minutes and bring them home. If you haven’t already check out Exercise Basic For All Breeds. 

While you get ready you can put them on the treadmill or if they’re looking good let them rest and recover.

After You Get To The Vet

After you pull up to the vet you have a choice to make based on the dog. If the dog looks good, then go into the appointment early. If the dog looks excited pulling up to the vet take them on a 20 to 30-minute walk around the vet.

Just so we are clear walk at night, run in the morning, add in the treadmill if needed, and walk at the vet if needed. Really excited dogs may need this formula. You may think you dog has high energy until you take them out on bike ride, like we recommend, and they have low energy.

Imagine doing that their whole life? Just saying!

Don’t Exercise Until These Conditions

Vomiting – if the dog is throwing up don’t use the method you would for the regular exercise regimen we recommend.

No Appetite – if the dog isn’t eating you might have a condition like parvo. Don’t exercise the dog it wouldn’t make any sense under these conditions.

Needs X-ray – If the dog needs an exam for hips or refuses to exercise make sure you don’t push the dog to exercise at all.

Dehydration – dehydration can be sign of a serious health condition as well.

Eye Pus – An eye infection or serious eye infection should never be in an exercise cycle.

Very weak or incoherent – get these dogs to the vet right away.


Treats are a fantastic way to kick out the second round of getting them to behavior like we know they can. And should! Don’t just hand out treats make sure the treat is coming for the great behavior.

These are the times you want to give a treat. Try not to talk too much because it causes excitement, but you must go right ahead.

  1. When they dog is showing good body language
  2. When the dog lays down
  3. When the dog is sitting
  4. Ignoring another high energy dog

When the dog is laying down with their head on the ground give them a treat. If the dog isn’t looking at any dog in the office and showing ideal social skills, give them a treat. If the dog is sitting and minding their own business after all that exercise, give them a treat.

Some dogs will come in and the owner hasn’t walked them in the last 5 years and now they have an opportunity to whine, cry, scratch, and start a fight all in the vet office. When your dog is ignoring them that is the best time to share a treat with them.

When I say treat, I don’t mean some piece of cardboard you bought at your local pet store. Bring some real cooked meat like chicken or steak. Really make them love coming to the vet.

You want a positive association because your dog could pull up like this


  1. Aggressive behavior
  2. Too much Eye Contact
  3. Excitement

On the contrary if your dog is showing the wrong body language you want to correct that behavior right away. Any strong eye contact, lunging, barking, mounting, nipping, or biting should be corrected immediately.

If the dog smells another dog that is perfectly fine. Once the dog gets excited and wants to play bow in the office make sure you let them know you strongly disagree with the behavior.

That shouldn’t be tolerated for any reasons at all. If you don’t know how to correct take a look at the corrections guide.

When the Vet comes into the Room

When the vet comes in to the room never check out and forget to supervise the process. Don’t get in the way of course but if the Vet is taking the dogs temperature make sure you provide a safety blanket.

If the vet is looking at a sensitive area where the dog’s barks loud or rushing to stop anyone from touching the area, make sure they know you are right there.

A great deal of this work will be stuffed when you exercise them for a long period of time. Put in the work first and you won’t have to worry about the dog relaxing. You’ll have to worry about making the dog look excited.

And that’s fine if there aren’t any behavior problems.

How Often Will They See the Vet?

  1. Every month until 4 months
  2. Adults every Year Check Up
  3. Senior Dogs Twice Per Year

Puppies will need to get multiple shots up until they’re 4 months old. You will to bring them to the vet 3 or 4 times just for shots. If you want to microchip, which you should, you will bring them back in the first year.

Adults need to come only once a year unless there is a cause for concern. Get the yearly check up and make sure everything is fine with your dog. That is important because they need their yearly shots and if any issues come up you have a licensed vet that can notice health discrepancies.

Senior dogs need to come in twice a year for maintenance. You don’t want your dog going into their senior years of their life in pain and struggling when you can get them some medication or whatever may be the remedy.

Travel Crate for Smaller Dog

If the dog is small enough you may want to consider bringing them inside of the travel crate. That may reduce the need for the dog to interact when dogs are too out of control at the vet. We take the dogs to the dog park every weekend we can fit in, so this isn’t the best use of socialization.

How Much Does a Vet Check Up Cost?

You can expect to pay around $50. Some are lower and others are higher but either way you should expect to pay a fee to have someone look at your dog. Yes, even if nothing is wrong you must be prepared to pay this money.

Pet Insurance

Pet owners may be interested in purchasing some pet insurance. Most of the insurance companies for pets are offering a few things:

  1. Monthly payments
  2. Coverage at most Vets
  3. Accidents and illness

Like any insurance company the pet industry wants you to pay a monthly payment. The flip side will be that you will be covered if the dog gets into a sudden accident.

Most licensed vets will be able to be covered under your insurance. They don’t cover preexisting conditions or wellness checks. A wellness check is an annual check up or teeth cleaning. Anything that should be routine that won’t cover.

Accidents that are an emergency, dog getting cancer, or any other non-preexisting serious condition will be covered by pet insurance.

All plans are different concerning how much you will pay for a surgery it is all based on your coverage. What we will talk about is how the process works.

How the Pet Insurance Process Works

You will have to pay your entire bill out of pocket. This may change in the future but for right now you need to pay everything up front. Once you pay everything up front you need to make sure the visit is covered by your insurance company.

You must save the receipt you get to make sure you have proof of the payment. At this point you have paid the whole bill, checked your policy, saved your receipt, and it is time to contact the insurance company.

Once you contact the pet insurance company it is time to submit a claim with your insurer.

That’s pretty much the process right now and what you will need to do if you choose to get pet insurance for your dog.


There is a certain way you want to take your dog to the vet. You don’t want to take your dog to the vet full of energy. You want to drain them out as much as possible so there will be a relaxed mindset when going to the vet.

Make sure if the dog is sick or injured you don’t exercise or tire them out. That’s only if it is a routine check up and there are no known health issues.

Use treats and correct the dog if needed. Remember if you exercised and the dog is completely wild then guess what? You didn’t exercise enough and increase it before the next trip.

In Addition, you need to see the vet often as a puppy, less as a healthy adult dog, and twice as much as a senior dog.

Lastly, pet insurance may be something you might want to think of doing if the situation is right for you and your family. We walked you through the process to file a claim in case of you needing to, but you always want to check with your insurance provider for their specific process.

Good Day!