A visit to the vet can be stressful for pets and their humans. When you take steps to minimize stress before and during the appointment, your vet can usually complete the exam more quickly and thoroughly. A calm, successful visit also makes your pet less likely to be as stressed about their next trip to the vet.
The following six tips can help make for a low-stress vet visit:
Keep your anxiety in check.
Your pet is more in tune with your emotions than you probably realize. If you feel stressed and anxious, they probably will be, too. Talk to your pet as you usually do, and try to avoid sounding high-pitched or nervous. The more normal you act and sound, the better.
Associate your pet’s carrier with positivity.
If your pet associates their carrier only with visits to the vet, it’s likely to become a source of stress for them, and you may have difficulty getting them inside. Place the carrier out in a room at home, and put a cozy blanket and a toy or two inside. Use it to deliver some of your pet’s favorite snacks so your pet goes inside and has positive experiences with the carrier.
Time your appointment wisely.
A crowded waiting room with people coming and going, dogs barking, and cats meowing is a stressful environment. Minimize the crowd and the time you and your pet wait by asking your vet’s staff when they’re usually less busy. The first appointment of the day is often a good choice.
Arrive at the office with your pet’s favorite treats. You and the vet team can give your pet treats to encourage their cooperation during the exam and reward them for good behavior. This action encourages good behavior and creates positive associations with the office and staff.
Familiarize your pet with car rides.
If the only time your pet rides in the car is to go to the vet, the car ride to their appointment is likely to be anxiety-provoking. Take them on short rides every few days before their appointment so they become accustomed to being in the car. Bring treats to give your pet during the ride to add a bit of positive excitement to their short road trip.
Ensure your pet is comfortable being handled.
The vet staff will need to handle your pet to examine them, so the more familiar they are with this kind of contact, the better. Many pets don’t like anyone touching their paws or ears, so it’s best to get them familiar with having these areas handled well before their visit. Plenty of petting and lots of praise will help make their experience a happier one.
Visits to the vet’s office are often somewhat stressful, but by following the steps outlined above, you can make your pet as relaxed as possible on the way to and during their appointment. Take time to prepare in advance, and your pet’s visit is likely to go much more smoothly than it otherwise would.