We’ve all seen how stressed and anxious the word vet makes our dogs or cats. You may have a hard time getting him or her in the kennel or in the car, and he may not budge when you try to walk him into our office. A stressful vet visit may also stick in your pet’s memory and he may be forever scared to go.
This can be stressful and tiring for pet owners as well.
How can you make a visit to our clinic less stressful for you and your pet?
1. Getting into the crate can be stressful so it is important to familiarize your dog or cat with the crate from as early on as possible. Try keeping the carrier in the open around the house so your pet sees it daily. When you only take the crate out for a vet visit, your furry friend will associate the crate with the fear he feels at vet visits.
2. Spraying a calming scented spray in your pet’s crate such as lavender will have a calming effect on your pet in no time. You can also try bringing something from home (in the crate) that smells like the house or you, such as a blanket or t-shirt.
3. Try bringing your pet to the veterinary clinic the day before the appointment so that he can become familiar with the smells and staff of our office. Also, taking your dog or cat to the office when he doesn’t have to get treated makes it a lot less scary the next time around. Your pet will enjoy getting to know other people and sniffing around to get the feel of the office.
4. If your dog or cat is not familiar with car rides, taking him in the car can be very stressful. In order to get your animal to his appointment, you first need to be able to get him comfortable in the car. Try taking him on car rides, either around the block or even to the park well in advance of your scheduled appointment. Afterwards, try doing something fun or rewarding so your pet knows that car rides don’t have to be scary. Make sure to bring treats!
5. Try speaking with a staff member here at HART to find out when the quietest time is at our office. All the animals and extra noises can make pets nervous, so if there is a “down time” in the day when you can bring your pet, make an appointment for that time and day.
6. Try getting your baby used to handling. Having his paws, face, ears, and tail touched by a stranger may stress him out. Getting him used to handling at a young age can decrease amounts of stress and apprehension for any trip to our office. Dogs, especially, do tend to enjoy affection but it may take some getting used to with attention from strangers in a new environment.
7. If you can, a quick tip is to try to refrain from feeding your dog the night or morning before the visit with us. He will be very hungry at the appointment which makes the perfect time for rewards: treats! Bring your dog’s favorite treats along!
8. Our pets can really sense when we are upset or anxious. That is why it is important to keep your own emotions in check the day of the vet visit. If you are stressed, your dog or cat most assuredly will be too. Try to be as calm as possible and be very encouraging to your pet on the day of the visit.
9. & 10. As a pet-parent, you may not think of this but there are synthetic pheromones available that will help to calm and comfort your pet. Adaptil is a product we sell here at HART that mimics the pheromone released by a mother dog to reassure her puppies. Adaptil is available as a diffuser, a collar and a spray.
When cats are feeling calm (and to communicate to other cats), cats also emit a pheromone from their cheeks by rubbing up against things or people. Feliway is the synthetic product that comes in a diffuser and spray option found in the HART shop. This product can be used to help relieve stress and anxiety in cats.
When at our office, ensure you have your dog on his leash or harness at all times. Pets may act differently and unexpectedly in stressful situations and may become disturbed when coming in contact with other animals. Try to keep something in between your dog and other animals that may be agitated while waiting. Also, please keep your cat in the crate. For the safety of everyone’s animals.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at the HART Bredel Veterinary Clinic.