With well over 100 million domestic cats and dogs in the United States, veterinary visits are a fact of life for millions of Americans. Unfortunately, those visits can also cause our furry companions intense stress.
Not surprisingly, many dogs, cats, and other pets have deep anxiety about going to the vet. A vet visit can quickly become a fiasco for everyone involved without the right precautions.
So what can you do to make it easier on both your pets and yourself? Luckily, the answer is quite a few things!
Here are a few helpful tips on how to make a vet visit a stress-free affair.
One of the biggest stressors for your pets is being handled in ways they’re not used to by people they don’t know. By performing regular home exams, you can familiarize your pets with this activity.
Do things like checking their teeth, holding their paws, and gently restraining them on a daily basis if you can. These things should obviously be performed with great care and attention to your pet’s mental health.
If it’s causing them immense distress, slow it down and take a step back. Be sure to also include plenty of praise and positive reinforcement during these activities.
By normalizing this sort of touching, you take away one major factor in veterinary discomfort.
If your pet only goes to the vet when they’re sick or very infrequently, the unfamiliar environment can be extra stressful. To alleviate this, try to schedule regular social visits to the vet’s office.
Let them interact with the staff, explore the space, and become generally acquainted with the environment. Like with your home exams, offer up praise and positive reinforcement. Try having the staff offer up treats.
Before long, the office won’t seem like such a scary place, making each vet visit a bit less stressful.
This one is very important, but it can also be easy to overlook. Sometimes your pet needs to go to the vet immediately. In such a case, having performed the above steps will make the process much easier.
Also, try not to physically compel or carry your dog into the office in these cases. Try to coax them into the office at a pace that’s comfortable for them, again using positive reinforcement and praise.
If your pet is allowed to operate at their own speed, they’ll feel far more comfortable and at ease. In emergencies, this is sometimes not an option, but you should do your best to practice this in other instances.
There’s nothing better than knowing your fur babies are happy and healthy. By removing one of the scariest things in many pets’ lives, you can make a big stride towards that goal.
Through practice and a little bit of patience, you can transform the dreaded vet visit into a pleasant trip for you and your pet. It takes time and dedication, but the pay off is well worth the effort.
So why put it off any longer? Get started on your journey towards a happy and healthy pet today!