Visiting the doctor is not typically fun for anyone, including humans. Taking steps to reduce your pet’s fear and anxiety related to visiting the veterinarian not only helps your pet, it also helps reduce the stress put on you and the veterinary health care team. And, once your pet is here, our team is trained to keep her calm and reduce her stress by using appropriate handling techniques and incorporating positive rewards (like treats) during her visits. Here are a few things you can do leading up to your pet’s appointment:
- Talk to us if your pet’s anxiety seems extreme.
Communication is key, and we know that for some pets, anti-anxiety medications may be warranted. If needed, we can instruct you on how to give them before your pet’s visit.
- Get your pet accustomed to leaving the house.
Some cats disappear the moment you drag the cat carrier out of the basement. If possible, start getting your cat accustomed to being in her carrier when she’s a kitten. Leave the carrier out with the door open and place a favorite treat inside so she can go in and rest, rather than associating it with something negative. Occasionally, when she’s inside, close the door and take her for a leisurely car ride.
- Help to build positive associations.
Don’t just bring your pet to see us when she needs vaccines or is sick or injured. Visiting a doctor can be a scary experience, and your pet doesn’t understand all the poking and prodding that we may have to do during her visit. Take time to stop by our office with your pet in tow on days when she doesn’t have an appointment. During these “happy visits,” our team can give her a treat and show her some love without any of the poking and prodding, which will help her associate our office with good experiences.
Questions about reducing your pet’s fear, anxiety, or stress before her next veterinary appointment? Call our office.