Visiting the Vet

Advice on getting your pet to us

Your pet's first visit

When you bring your pet to the vets for whatever reason, it can be stressful for you and your pet especially. You may be a first time pet owner and unsure of the process so here is a guide of what to expect:

Many pets have a sixth sense and can read your thoughts and actions better then we can, so you may find it difficult to find or catch them, especially cats! Try to reassure them and keep them calm. If you have the time, leaving a cat carrier out for a couple of days before your visit can help cats get used to them and dogs may be "bribed" with promises of walks and treats.

We are more than happy for you to bring your pets on social visits to get them used to coming to the surgery. Cats and small animals need to be contained in a secure travel crate, preferably with a cover to minimise stress.

When you arrive, register at reception giving your name and your pet's details, and make the most of our separate dog and cat waiting areas, making the wait easier on your pets. Please keep your animals under control in the waiting area, with dogs on leads and cats in their crates. When in the consultation room our vets will try and learn as much about your pet as possible. Try to remember things like when they last ate and drank, changes in behaviour and the last time they went to the toilet.

Whatever the vet's diagnosis, try and make sure you understand all of the instructions. If you feel you do not understand something, please feel free to ask the vets questions until you fully understand. Sometimes you may need to book a follow up check for your pet.

If any medication has been given or a special diet/exercise regime recommended, please make sure you follow instructions carefully. Getting anything wrong could delay recovery, so if you are at all unsure about anything, check our recovery pages under the animal care section of the website or feel free to call the surgery. Rest is often needed after a visit, so somewhere warm and quiet should be made available, and maybe even a treat!

Part 1: Getting to the Vet

Taking your pet to the surgery can be stressful for both yourself and your pet. Unfortunately, we cannot explain to our pets that the reason they have to visit the vets is to either prevent them from becoming unwell or to treat them once they become unwell. This guide will give you some ideas of how to reduce the stress factors as much as possible.


They seem to know when you are planning to take them to see the vet and have a knack for disappearing, or hiding somewhere you cannot get to them. Once you have found them you are then faced with the challenge of actually getting them in to their travel box.

If you have the time and space, it may help to leave the cat basket out for a couple of days prior to the appointment so they get used to seeing it and don’t run for the hills when they see you go to the cupboard where the dreaded cage lives. Although they may still be wary and guess that something is up, they are more likely to get used to seeing it so less stressed when you finally do need to get them in to it. Putting a familiar blanket or article of clothing in the box and leaving the door open can also make it less intimidating. Other things to try are some of the calming products available, such as:

  • Feliway
  • Zylkene
  • Pet Remedy

When getting your cat in to the basket, try to allow yourself as much time as possible. This reduces the risk of you getting anxious about being late for your appointment and rushing the situation. Cats are very good at picking up on emotional stress so try to remain as calm as possible at all times. If it looks like you may get injured or your cat is really not coping then, as long as it isn’t a necessity to take him or her to the vets, consider abandoning the attempt and reschedule for another time.

Whatever you decide to try to do to make the ‘cat into a box’ task easier, take your time, talk in a reassuring voice and retain a calm composure, externally at least.

Please note, all cats MUST be secured properly in a suitable pet carrier. Do not carry them in to the surgery or bring them in on a harness and lead. They may be okay with it but other animals in the waiting area may not be so tolerant! If your cat basket has been ‘borrowed’ or lost in the depths of your attic, we do have cages we can hire out, for a refundable deposit fee.


Dogs are usually less problematic to get to the vets unless they have a car phobia. But it doesn’t mean it is any less stressful for them to walk through the front door of the veterinary practice. Many dogs get to within a few metres of the practice and suddenly apply their brakes and you are faced with a very determined dog glued to the ground. Small dogs can be carried in to the surgery and spoken to in a calm and reassuring manner, but bigger dogs may need some other form of persuasion. If they are coming in for anything other than a procedure that requires a general anaesthetic or sedation, then you can try to offer them treats to get them in to the practice. Again, be calm and reassuring and don’t get cross with them. It is normal behaviour, as trips to the vet nearly always end up with something they feel is unpleasant, even the needle involved with giving them vaccinations to keep them in good health. If your dog refuses point blank to come in to the surgery, please advise one of the staff members and we will be able to assist you.

If you find your dog is really stressed by visits to the vet, again there are some remedies you can try, such as:

  • Adaptil
  • Zylkene
  • Pet Remedy

Another option can be to visit the surgery just to say hello. You can take your dog for a walk/drive and then call in to us and see the reception team or veterinary nurses. We can then make a fuss of them and show them that not every visit ends with a needle! If you decide to try this, please pop in after 11am as prior to this the surgery can be very busy.

Alternatively, in severe cases it may be worth consulting a pet behaviourist. Naturally Pets in Bexhill are a local pet behaviour specialist who will be able to advise you further.

Please ensure that all dogs are secured on a lead or harness when coming to the veterinary practice as animals are unpredictable and we cannot control how other dogs may react to yours.

Other Pets

All other pets need to be brought to the surgery in a secured container, suitable for their needs. A blanket to cover the container may help to reduce the stress of being taken from their home environment. Try to include some of their own used bedding material to make it feel less foreign to them. If it is cold outside, please ensure they have enough bedding or cover to prevent them getting cold. Equally, if it is really hot out then care needs to be taken to prevent them from over-heating.

For further information on the products mentioned above, please ask one our team members who will be happy to advise you on them.

Alternatively, please see the below links:

Part 2: The Appointment

Now you have successfully managed to round up the cat and got your dog through the front door of the surgery, round two for potential stress begins.

Upon arrival please make your way to the reception desk and advise the member of staff that you have arrived. If possible, please check with the person that checks you in that we have all your details correct and up-to-date. This allows us to make sure that we are able to notify you when appointments are due or when it is time for annual vaccinations. If you prefer not to be contacted, please advise the reception team at the time.

We always endeavour to see you at the scheduled appointment times, and will do our best to make sure this happens. Unfortunately, we are unable to predict just what each pet’s treatment will be and how long it may take, as the pets themselves may act in a completely abnormal way once they are in with the vet. We also do have unforeseen emergencies that have to be dealt with immediately which may delay your pet being seen. If you have time constraints and feel you are waiting longer than anticipated, please speak to a member of staff.

Now it is time to go in to the consulting room. The vet will ask you many questions relating to your pet. If he or she has been brought to the vets because they are unwell or you are unsure about something, please try to answer as accurately as possible. It may be helpful to jot down some notes beforehand about any changes you have noticed. Some of the questions they may ask are:

  • Has their appetite changed?
  • Have their drinking habits changed?
  • Are they urinating more/less?
  • Have they gained/lost weight?
  • Have you noticed any changes in behaviour?
  • Has the lump got bigger/changed?
  • Has there been any mobility changes?

Although it may seem like some of the questions are irrelevant, the vet is looking at your pet’s overall health and how it relates to the condition they have come in for. The vet will check your pet over and if you have any questions please ask when they finish the examination. The vet may give you instructions for caring for your pet at home or medications they may need. It can seem like the vet has their own complex language and sometimes it can be hard to keep up with what they are telling you. They are there to help you make the best choices for your pet so please ensure you understand what they are advising you on and voice any concerns you may have.  

When the consultation has finished, please make your way back to the reception desk. It is here that you will receive your medications and any other items. If the vet has advised they would like to see your pet for a check-up, please advise the receptionist and state which vet you would like to see.

When all this is completed the receptionist will ask for payment for the appointment and any medications etc. you may have had. Please be aware that we do not run an accounts system and that all treatments are payable at the time of receiving them.

Now comes the part your pet likes best: home time. Have a safe journey home and allow your pet to relax after their trip to the vets.

For any further information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us and speak to one of our friendly staff.

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