And in New York City, where many people don't have a car, it can be even more challenging.
Now there's a new service that brings the vet to you.
And this is an affordable luxury, which harkens back to the way doctors use to make house calls. With BarkCare, you schedule a visit on the computer and you can have a vet come to your home within hours.
It's what you call a modern day house call. Veterinarian Dr. Rob Proietto and his tech Anthony are at Marisa Grimshaw's apartment to examiner her dog Lily.
The appointment was booked through BarkCare.com. The site just launched in New York City.
So far ten vets have signed on to make house calls throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
"Not every dog is appropriate to be seen in the home. We don't ever do anything with sedation or anesthesia and we can't do X-rays. But other than that we can do most diagnostics, blood work, urinalysis, the skin, and most vaccines that you get on a year to year basis," said Proietto.
And in many ways this setting is preferable to being seen in a medical facility.
"Most of the dogs greet me with a toy or wagging their tail. When I'm at the veterinary hospital, they've gotten into a cab, they got stressed out through that. They had to wait in the waiting room with a bunch of other dogs that may or may not be sick, and those interactions are usually stressful," said Proietto.
And just getting to the vet is usually stressful for the dog and the owner.
"Getting her in and out of a cab, and she's obviously not the smallest dog, so getting a cab to take us isn't always the easiest," said Grimshaw.
BarkCare takes care of that, and vets also make visits in the evenings and on weekends. A checkup is just $99.
"I'd say it's pretty comparable to what we would be paying for a regular exam fee at her vet's office, so the convenience is extremely worth it," said Grimshaw.
A quick visit on Marisa's schedule makes for a happy owner and a pretty happy pit bull mix.
"She loves guests, and I'm sure she thought it was a party for her," Marisa said.
Right now you can book a BarkCare appointment online. But within the week, a BarkCare app will launch making the service even more accessible.