Saturday, July 30, 2022

Is Your Pet Scared of the Vet?

Cat in an appropriate carrier

Although most pets don’t mind, or may actually enjoy, their trips to the veterinarian’s office, some are frightened and may become aggressive or hide from their owners. Here are some strategies to reduce your pet’s fear.

If your pet will ride in a carrier, let him or her get used to it inside the house first. Set it on the floor and leave it there for the pet to explore for a week before its first use in the car. Pad the bottom of the carrier with a fleece blanket. This is more comforting than a towel, and a lot more comfortable than bare wires. Some pets get so acclimated to their carriers that they will sleep inside them at home.

Be sure your pet is used to riding in the car with you. Ensure that your pet is comfortable. Preheat or precool the car so that it is a reasonable temperature. If your pet is riding in a carrier, cover the back and sides of the carrier so only the front is open to avoid excessive visual stimulation. 

If this is your pet’s first car trip, or if he or she is excessively nervous, practice small trips. Perhaps just back out of the driveway and return to the garage, with a treat at the end of the very short trip. Then extend the car ride gradually. A pet in a carrier can be taken through a drive-through. A pet on a leash might like to accompany you on an errand at the pet store. The idea here is to associate being in the car with a joyride, not just with a trip to the vet.

When you have arrived at the veterinarian’s office, the waiting room can be very traumatic for some pets. There are lots of strange people and other animals. The various smells and fear pheromones can upset some animals with nervous temperaments. So, limiting the time you spend waiting inside the office can help as your pet will be able to stay mainly in the familiar comfort of your car. Will the receptionist text or phone you when it is your pet’s turn to be seen?

Did you know that music can help calm pets down when you get back home from a vet visit? Try quiet calm classical or reggae, which many animals prefer. The reader’s voice from books on tape can also be relaxing. 

Don’t put off your pet’s necessary care just because they are afraid of the trip to the veterinarian’s office. It’s as important for our pets to have regular medical checkups and care as it is for ourselves.

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