In honor of National Train Your Dog Month, we want to share a few ways you can train your pup to be less fearful of the vet. Visiting the doctor is not typically fun for anyone, including humans. And, when it comes to our furry companions—who may not understand where they’re going, why they’re going there, and what’s going to happen when they get there—visiting the veterinarian can be downright scary.
Veterinary visits don’t have to cause your pet anxiety. Here are three ways to make your pet’s next veterinary visit a walk in the park.
#1: 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.
#2: 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.
#3: Talk to us if your pet’s anxiety seems extreme.
For some pets, anti-anxiety medications may be warranted, and we can instruct you on how to give them before your pet’s visit.
Taking steps to reduce your pet’s fear and anxiety related to visiting the veterinarian not only helps your pet, but 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.
Questions about reducing your pet’s fear, anxiety, or stress before her next veterinary appointment? Contact us.