For new pet-owners, first-time visits to the vet can be a slightly unnerving experience. The strange sounds, smells, and sights in a pet clinic can be even scarier to our furry babies.
According to a study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 50% of pet owners feel that their pets dislike going for checkups and that they feel anxious while making one. If you’re one of them, here are some tips to make sure your next visit to the pet clinic is a relaxing one for both you and your pet.
1. Practice holding your pet
When you take your pet to a vet clinic, they are poked and prodded in various different places which makes them irritable and cranky. So before going to the vet, practice handling it yourself first. Gently check its eyes, ears, and other areas of the body.
Performing at-home examinations will also make you more comfortable telling your vet about your pet’s health. When you handle your pet, you also feel relaxed and more comfortable. After each home session of examination, reward your pet with its favourite treat.
2. Make the carrier a friendly place
Most pet owners tend to carry their pets to the vet inside a carrier or crate, which is why our little babies associate the crates with only routine examinations at the clinic. Change your pet’s perception by making the crate a friendlier place for them. Here are some ways in which you can do that:
- Keep the crate open inside the house and put warm blankets and toys inside it
- Try feeding your pet inside it at times
- In extreme cases, spray some pheromone solutions like Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs) inside the carrier
- Place your pet inside it for short durations and keep petting it so that it stops associating the carrier with only vet visits
A bit of walking or playing games like fetch can greatly relieve anxiety in pets before they go for their checkups.
If you see them sleeping and you have to wake them up in order to leave for your appointment, never put them in a crate right after they wake up. Instead, play a little with them and help them relax.
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4. Provide comfortable transport
If your pet sees that the transport towards the vet clinic is a comfortable one, it will be more likely to stay calm during the checkup and afterwards. Most dogs love car rides, but you should always make sure to strap the seat belts on and take precautions.
If you have a bit of time before the appointment, take your pet out for a short ride before the appointment, play some relaxing music, and reassure your pet that the checkup will be nothing to worry about. You should also give yourself plenty of time to calm yourself so that you don’t end up panicking in the clinic.
5. Don’t always go for vaccinations or checkups
If your vet clinic has a dog-friendly play zone near it, take it there at times. If you only visit the clinic when it’s time for vaccinations or painful examinations, both you and your dog will feel worried before every visit.
Instead, consider brief visits to the hospital or clinic without the hassle of vaccinations. This will give your pet time to get accustomed to the sounds and smells of the place.
6. Relaxation medicines
If none of the above methods seems to be working, you can try some pet relaxation medicines. Sprays like Adaptil or Feliway work in most cases, but for some dogs, a mild sedative needs to be prescribed.
This will help them to relax and have a positive experience of the appointment at the vet’s clinic. Make sure to talk to your vet before administering the medicine yourself.
Over to you…
These are some of the effective ways to ensure an untroubled visit to the vet. Every checkup session should be as hassle-free as possible for both you as well as your little friend.
As long as you assure your pet that you’re there to support it, it will try its best to stay calm and composed. So the next time you have an appointment, try out these tips!