Stockton Vet Hospital


News and advice from our experts

5 Tips to Make Your First Visit to SVH a Happy One!

We are so excited to have you joining us soon at Stockton Veterinary Hospital! Based on the messages we receive daily, we know you are too.  We want you to have the best experience possible so I have put together 5 tips to make your first appointment run as smoothly and stress free as possible!

1. Get all your paperwork in prior to your appointment

Fill out our new patient form here and be sure to confirm with the office ahead of time that your records have been transferred. Also ask if there is any additional paperwork that needs to be filled out. If you are coming in for a behavior consultation be sure to fill out our behavior history questionnaire at least one business day before you appointment.  This way when you arrive you can relax in the waiting room with your pet without having to focus on paperwork and the doctors and behavior staff will have everything they need for your appointment.

2. Bring proper equipment

All pets should be restrained on proper equipment when they arrive at the hospital. For cats, please have them safely secured in a carrier. For dogs, please bring them on a flat collar or harness attached to a regular leash no longer than 6 feet in length. No retractable leashes please. 

Also bring things with you that help your pet stay as comfortable as possible. This might include a small mat to rest on in the waiting room, a towel in a carrier, calming agents recommended by the doctor or behavior staff, and even toys or chews that help keep your pet calm and happy.

You wouldn't leave a child without a distraction in a waiting room - do the same for your pet!

3. Reward your pet!

Bring food or toys with you as rewards of good behavior. It can be hard for a pets to relax in new places or in places that have been scary in the past. Rewarding pets for calm or attentive behavior and manners is invaluable and will make future visits even better.

Pets that are calm and attentive in the waiting room tend to respond better when it is time to see the vet as well, leading to more thorough examinations and better diagnoses.

4. Follow proper handling training and protocols

If your pet has struggled with vet visits in the past, speak to the vet or behavior staff prior to your visit so they can determine the best course of action to make your pet as comfortable as possible. If medication is recommended, make sure to follow the prescription properly. If a muzzle is recommended, begin muzzle acclimation and desensitization at home before your appointment and ideally bring one your pet has been trained. For more information on muzzle training, click here.

If you pet is afraid to be handled, restrained, or examined, start at home. Practice examining and touching your pet. If you don't know how to practice, speak to our behavior staff for a demonstration on how to train your pet to accept handling. Training clinics on muzzles and handling will be available once a month at the hospital. Check our events calendar for more information.

5. Sometimes it's best to wait in the car

We have put a lot of consideration into our waiting room set up, but if you pet is deeply distressed by vet visits, or reacts strongly to other animals in the waiting room, it might be best to wait in the car. Our staff are happy to come out and tell you when the doctor is ready to see you, or even txt or call you if your pet doesn't like strangers near the car. If your pet needs this accommodation, simply call us when you have arrived or come in without your pet to let us know you are there.

There is no shame in waiting outside if it is in the best interest of your pet. We are proud of all our clients who put their pet's needs first!

If you're ready to schedule your first appointment, give us a call at 609-483-2590 or email us at