Your pet needs regular veterinary care to remain healthy, but many pets find the veterinary visit stressful. Their increased anxiety levels can affect their well-being, and influence their diagnostic results. Our team at Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital wants to help you prepare your pet, so their next veterinary visit is stress-free.
Train your pet to accept handling
You can train your pet to accept handling, similar to training them to learn a trick or obey a command. Socializing your young pet early is the best way to handle this situation. Begin handling their mouth, ears, limbs, tail, feet, and abdomen from the time they are small, so they become used to the attention. If you have an older pet who does not appreciate a particular procedure, you can practice handling them at home, to ameliorate them to the situation. For example, if your pet does not like having their nails clipped, start by touching their foot, and offering them a treat. Graduate to picking up their foot, and then to holding their foot, and separating their toes. Offer treats and praise during the process, and practice daily, until they don’t mind having their feet manipulated. This will make clipping their nails much easier for you, your pet, and our veterinary professionals the next time you bring them in for the procedure.
Practice taking your pet to the veterinarian
If your pet gets poked and prodded every time they are put in their carrier or ride in a car, they will negatively associate these circumstances, and will be stressed and upset before stepping foot in the veterinary hospital. Help them see these situations in a more positive light.
- Carrier — Leave their carrier out where they can go in and out as they please. Feed them in their carrier, and place their favorite toys inside. You can also put their favorite blanket or a well-worn piece of clothing in the carrier, to help them find the area comforting. Many pets eventually see their carrier as a comforting, safe place, and a familiar haven, and they will be less stressed during their veterinary visit.
- Car rides — Take them on car rides frequently, and provide treats and praise when they are in the car. You can ride around the block initially, and then make the ride longer, as they get more comfortable. Soon, they will be begging to go with you in the car when you jingle your keys.
- Hospital visit — Schedule a time when your pet can visit our hospital for only belly rubs, ear scratches, and treats, so they can meet our team without receiving shots or uncomfortable exams. They will quickly see that we are nice and generous, and will want to come back for another visit.
Withhold your pet’s breakfast when going to the veterinarian
If your pet is hungry, they more likely will be motivated by treats. Ensure your pockets are full of their favorite treats, and offer treats and praise frequently throughout their visit. Bring enough so that our team members can offer your pet treats when they cooperate, and to distract them during unpleasant procedures.
Plan your pet’s veterinary visit
Planning ahead can ensure you are not stressed when you take your pet to the veterinarian, which will help keep your pet calm, since they pick up on your anxiety.
- Scheduling — A veterinarian’s day is unpredictable, and emergencies and unexpected occurrences during exams can cause delayed appointment times. Schedule your pet’s visit as early as possible in the morning, to help prevent their appointment being pushed back.
- Preparation — Ensure you have any paperwork you need, and your questions for the veterinarian ready well in advance, so you are not upset and harried during the visit.
Bring your pet’s favorite items to the veterinary visit
Pets appreciate routine and find comfort in familiar items. Bring along their favorite toys and bedding, so they can retreat to a safe zone if the visit becomes overwhelming. Speak quietly to your pet, and never hold them down, or force them to participate in a stressful situation.
Exercise your pet before their veterinary visit
If your pet is not injured or sick, you can tire them out and expend excess energy with a vigorous game of fetch or a run in the park before they go to the veterinarian. If they are tired, they will more likely cooperate during their appointment.
Notify our staff about your pet’s anxiety
Our American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)-accredited team strives to ensure every pet is approached in a stress free manner, but knowing in advance that your pet has anxiety issues can help us better handle your pet, and provide the best care possible. Some pets benefit from calming supplements or medications, but never administer these products to your pet without a discussion with a veterinary professional.
Stress-free veterinary visits are the best way to provide your pet the care and attention they deserve. If you would like to bring your pet by for a belly rub and treat appointment, contact our team at Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital, to set up a time that works best for you.