Vet’s offices can be scary!
Going to the vet can be very stressful for your pet. There’s a lot of new smells, cold tables, and many strange animals. Being exposed to all these stimulants can be pretty intimidating! Can you blame them for being overstimulated? There are ways you can prepare for your visit to help take the stress out of the word V-E-T.
Keep Your Cool
One of the biggest things you can do to help keep your pets calm and less stressed at the vet is staying composed yourself. Make sure you do this in the hours leading up to the appointment. Your pets are sensitive to your emotional state. If you’re nervous about going to the vet, they’ll pick up on it and be worried too. When you feel frazzled, take three deep breaths, and focus on keeping your voice calm.
Familiarize Your Pet to the Carrier
Does your pet run for cover when the carrier comes out? That’s because they only see it as a trap that takes them to a scary place. Place the pet carrier on the floor a few days before the visit so they get used to it. Put their favorite toys inside; they should start associating it with fun. When they go into the carrier on their own, reward them with a treat and lots of pets. You can even feed them inside it too. These things will help your pet associate their transport carrier with happy feelings instead of fear.
Take the Fear Out of the Car Ride
Your dog thinks that every time you put them in the car and drive that they are going to “that scary place.” As soon as they feel more comfortable in their carrier, you can start adding car rides into the mix. At least a week before the appointment, start taking short car rides every day with your pet. Reward them with a couple of treats too! They will begin to have a more positive outlook on car rides.
Get Your Pet Used to Touch
One of the big things that can stress your pet out at the vet is unfamiliar touching. Help reduce that anxiety by getting your dog or cat used to touch. Hold their paws, inspect their ears, even take a look in their mouth too. Reward them with a treat between every couple of pokes. This method may help them associate touch with something positive. You can even give them attention in the car on the way to the appointment to help ease their stress.
Ease Your Pet’s Fears
Make sure to have some treats on hand for your dog. If they focus on you and yummy treats instead of what is making them scared, they may feel a little more at ease. Use those treats to reward their good behavior at the vet’s office. Have a security blanket or something they can hide under for your anxious cat to feel safe. You can even purchase a pheromone spray to spritz on it to help soothe their fears even more.
Do Not Reward Nervous Behavior
When your dog expresses anxiety, your initial response will be to pet them and to try to keep them calm. Do NOT do this! They will interpret this as a reward for whining and continue the behavior. It might make you feel better, but they won’t learn good habits in the long run.
Did you know that some vet offices are taking measures to make your pets feel more comfortable? They swap out bright white colors for pastels that are less stressful to your pet’s eyes and offer more treats. All in all, they try to create a more friendly and less scary environment. If there is a clinic like that in your area, consider taking your nervous pet there.