Visiting your veterinarian with your pet

Regular health checks for companion animals are important. Cats and dogs age quickly and to ensure a healthy life for your pet it's always best to catch medical problems early on. Yearly checks are recommended.

As well as treating your pet, veterinarians can give you advice on how best to look after your animal to prevent health problems. They can provide advice on feeding, nurturing, training and exercise.

Read on for more information on what to expect when you visit the veterinarian and other helpful resources.

What to expect

When you visit a veterinarian you'll be asked general information about your pet, including details of its medical history. This information will be kept on file and updated each time you attend the veterinary clinic.

The veterinary staff will advise you of costs for routine treatments and procedures - such as desexing, x-rays, dental work, vaccinations and microchipping. If your pet's case is more complicated, staff will still be able to give you an outline cost but the total will depend on the diagnosis and the course of treatment. Your veterinarian will keep you advised.

Veterinary practices are well equipped to test and treat pets on site for a wide range of medical problems. However, where there is a serious problem, or an emergency, your vet may refer you to a veterinarian who specialises in a particular area. Many pet owners take out pet insurance to cover medical emergencies.

Useful resources

Find-a-Vet - locate a veterinary clinic in your area, including those that maintain BESTPRACTICE standards.

Choosing your pet - get the best start possible by reading our advice on choosing your pet.

Microchipping your pet - The Companion Animal Register (separate from the National Dog Database) allows instant access to comprehensive information to reunite you and your microchipped pet.

Healthy Pets New Zealand - A charity that funds research into better health and wellbeing for New Zealand pets.


If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and your pet needs to visit a veterinarian, contact your veterinary practice for advice. Non-urgent appointments should be deferred until you have completed your isolation. If your pet needs a more urgent vet visit, you may need to arrange for someone outside of your household to pick up your pet to take him/her to the clinic.

Read our COVID-19 fact sheet for more information.


If you have a complaint about the service you've received from your veterinarian, you should raise it directly with the veterinarian first. You can ask to see the practice manager or principal veterinarian for the practice if you're not comfortable talking directly to the veterinarian. If you're not satisfied with the response, or for more information, contact New Zealand's regulating body, the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ).