VCA Animal Hospitals

Getting ready to take your dog to the vet

Published: Jan 21, 2013

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Every dog owner should bring his or her pet to the vet at least once or twice a year for regular checkups, and they should also pay a visit to one of the local vet clinics if the animal is experiencing a medical issue. Before you pack up and head to the animal hospital, however, make sure you have everything you need to prepare - otherwise you could show up only to find that you have to return home to get additional information for your vet. Here are some tips when you're getting ready to bring your canine companion into a pet health center.

Making an appointment
Sometimes, you may not have much advance warning that your pet needs medical attention. Even during an unexpected pet emergency, it's important to call the animal hospital while you're en route to let them know you're coming in with an urgent issue. If you're bringing your pet in for a less urgent reason, then you should try to schedule your appointment well in advance. Many vet hospitals book up just as quickly as doctor's offices, so it's wise to schedule your checkup appointments all at once if you are able.

Your vet visit checklist
Before you head into the clinic, run through this checklist to make sure you have everything you'll need. For extra convenience, put all of these items in one spot in your home so you can grab them quickly if you have to get to the vet in a hurry.

  • Any pertinent medical records for your pet
  • Pet insurance information
  • A crate for your animal
  • Any medications that you are concerned about or may factor into your vet visit
  • A toy or soothing item for your pet
  • A form of payment to cover the vet bills

En route to the clinic
While you're on your way to the vet hospital, you'll need to keep a close eye on your pet, especially if he is experiencing pain in dogs or another emergency medical issue. If possible, bring a friend or family member who can focus on the animal while you drive the car. If you don't own a vehicle and you need to get to a vet clinic in a hurry, you should consider calling a cab or asking a friend or loved one to drive you. In emergency situations, time is of the essence, so always focus on getting your pet the help he needs as quickly as possible.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

Find a VCA General Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.