Most pet owners know that bringing their furry family member to the vet can certainly be a challenge. Just like humans are sometimes afraid of going to the doctor, undergoing tests and being poked and prodded by strange instruments can cause anxiety in animals as well. Here are five tips that will help to calm your pet during a veterinarian visit, so the experience will be less stressful for you both.
Take Your Pet to a “Non-Appointment”
A few days before your pet’s vet appointment, take your cat or dog to the veterinarian’s office so get your pet familiar with the environment. If you’re taking a puppy or other young pet to the vet, it’s best to start acclimating your pet to the vet’s office a few weeks before the actual appointment. Make the experience pleasant for your pet by offering treats and cuddling with your dog or cat. Ask the staff at the vet’s office to be especially friendly with your pet so that the animal will associate the location with comfort. That way, once you take your animal in for a checkup or procedure, he/she will likely feel much less overwhelmed.
Play “Doctor” at Home
Get your pet used to some of the swift movements or unusual positions that come with a visit to the vet by practicing at home. Your animal will start to associate these actions with playtime, and won’t be as traumatized during a real doctor’s appointment. You can also use treats during these sessions to reinforce positive associations with the actions for your pet.
Bring Along Some Distractions
Hamilton Road Animal Hospital suggests bringing some toys to keep your cat occupied during a veterinarian exam. Catnip is also an effective way to keep your cat occupied and prevent your pet from getting panicky. If your cat is reclusive, bring along a towel or small blanket that smells like your home to make your pet more comfortable.
Schedule an Appointment When the Vet’s Office Isn’t Busy
A shy or reserved pet may fare better at the vet’s office if you bring him/her in for an appointment early in the morning or in the middle of the day when the office isn’t full of people and other pets. A quiet environment can help to keep your pet calm during evaluations and treatments. Ask your vet what days and times tend to be the least busy in their office, then arrange to visit during those hours if possible.
Choose the Right Vet
While it’s important to prepare your pet for a vet visit, it’s important that you talk to your pet’s veterinarian as well. If you notice that the doctor is a little too aggressive with your pet, ask him to be a little gentler. Some dogs are excitable and respond in a hyper fashion to normal human handling, let alone the quick movements that are sometimes required to accurately test a pet for certain health conditions or provide effective treatment. If your vet can’t treat your pet in a way that makes the animal comfortable, it’s time to find a new veterinarian.
Before you choose a vet, make sure to do your research. As simple Internet search for your area, like “veterinary Columbus”, should bring up results online. Make sure to check reviews and talk to trusted friends and families to get a sense of the vet’s approach. This will help you to make to most informed decision.
Going to the vet is typically a trip of terror for many pets, some even suffer from severe anxiety on such visits. This doesn’t have to be the case, however, for your pet if you take some simple steps to acclimatize your pet to the experience. These 5 tips will give you a great start toward positive and more pleasant vet visits.