dog and kitten

8 EASY TIPS FOR REDUCING ANXIETY IN YOUR PETS DURING VISITS TO THE VET

08/14/14

We know that taking your cat or dog to the veterinarian isn’t always easy. Although some pets can hardly wait for their annual check-up, most get anxious before you’ve even entered the clinic.

Follow these tips to make your next trip to the veterinarian less stressful for your pet – and you!

  1. If you know you will be transporting your cat or dog to the veterinarian’s in a carrier, get them used to it prior to the day of your appointment. The day of the veterinarian appointment will be less stressful for you and your feline companion if they are already accustomed to being inside a carrier. If the only time they are put in a carrier is when they are being taken to the vet, they will more than likely try to resist by scratching, clawing and crying so take steps to acclimate them to a carrier outside of vet visits.
  2. A good way to get a pet used to a carrier is to leave it open on the floor in your home, where the cat can wander in and out of it at their leisure. Often they will find it an ideal place to nap. You can even offer them treats while they are inside the carrier, so they associate it with something they enjoy.
  3.  Another problem often encountered with cats is getting them to remain calm during the car ride. By nature, they do not welcome change in their routines. A ride in a car, where different sights and smells are in abundance can be overwhelming for a cat, and cause them high levels of stress. If the cat is experiencing a lot of anxiety Feliway, which contains a biochemical hormone known as pheromone, can be sprayed on a blanket inside the carrier. Feliway is proven to have a calming effect on cats, and can be purchased at your veterinary clinic.
  4. Although most dogs are more adaptable to car rides, they can still become fearful, or anxious when visiting a vet. They may have encountered various animals in the park, but being in a closed environment with other animals, who may also be stressed, and unfamiliar people, can set off unwanted and sometimes dangerous behaviour. It is very important to socialize your dog from the time they are a puppy. Some clinics offer a preschool for puppies aged from eight to sixteen weeks, where they interact and have fun in the clinic reception area.
  5. If a dog is very fearful, it is advisable for the owner to take them on numerous visits to their veterinarian clinic. These visits are not for a check-up, or any medical treatment, but solely for the animal to get acquainted with the staff, and learn that the vet clinic is a welcoming place, not somewhere to be feared.
  6. A great way to reduce stress, especially if your furry loved ones have to remain overnight at the clinic, is to leave them with their favourite blanket, or a piece of your clothing. The object will help to give them a sense of security, as it will contain your scent and remind them of home.
  7. It is also important to get your cat, or dog used to being handled. Pretend you are a doctor, and give them a home examination from head to tail. It’s important that your pet gets used to being touched all over. Place your pet on a table and examine their teeth, check in their ears, feel their legs and between the toes on each paw. Give them a much loved belly rub, while checking their abdomen. At the end of each session reward them with treats for good behaviour.
  8. As a last resort, in case you find it impossible to take your cat, or dog to the vet because of anxiety problems, there are mobile vets that will come to your home for visits. Sometimes the only way to get your loved ones the medical attention they need is in their own home where they feel safe, and therefore are less likely to resist an examination.