Your Pet’s Vet Visit: How to Keep Them Calm
It’s no secret that vet visits can be a tormenting time for our beloved pets - from being confined in a cramped carriage and taking an unfamiliar trip in a car, to visiting unknown territory and undergoing an inspection, it’s understandably a nerve-wracking experience! Though we know the vet is focused on helping our pets feel better, they can often become frustrated as they don’t understand why they need to visit a foreign environment whilst feeling under the weather.
For some pets and owners, vet appointments can become an equally dreaded experience, however there are thankfully different ways in which you can help reduce negative emotions on check-up day and introduce the calm. Our Petplan experts have some top tips on how to keep your dog, cat or rabbit relaxed on that essential outing to the vet...
4 tips on keeping your pet calm at the vet
Arrange ‘happy visits’
Pets commonly form a negative impression of the vet from previous visits and it can be difficult to change their mind-set for the future. For first-timers or even pets that continue to show fear towards the vet, it can be helpful to arrange a ‘happy trip’ outside of their normal check-up to help build a healthier association. Popping by your local practice to say a friendly hello with treats on offer can greatly guide your pet to feeling more relaxed within the environment and hopefully reduce their dread on the day. In advance to your cheery visit, make sure to inform the receptionist you are stopping by and they will likely recommend a quieter slot to ensure they can make extra time to comfort your pet.
Prepare a calming start to the journey
In advance to your pet’s appointment day, an effective approach for preventing unnecessary stress is to prepare the trip logistics and establish a smooth outing to the practice. For pet owners that prefer utilising a pet carrier, particularly for cats and rabbits, it can be helpful to firstly familiarise them with their new travel home. Don’t hesitate to introduce your pet to its crate a week before the appointment and spark curiosity by adding a favourite toy, treats or a calming pet-friendly scent.
On the big day, it is of course advised to embark on a calming car journey to your local practice, making sure your pet crate is securely set-up to minimise bounces. If possible, try to avoid feeding your pet just before the excursion to decrease the likelihood of car sickness. When it comes to mans’ best friend, the most beneficial travel option is to take a serene stroll to the vet, balancing the day with some exciting exercise and the appointment to follow.
Avoid a lengthy appointment wait
The vet waiting room is notorious for kick-starting distress for many pets, as they are frequently noisy, jam-packed with lots of unfamiliar faces and the air is filled with lots of strange scents. As cats, rabbits and dogs have super-sensitive noses, they can speedily sniff unfamiliar scents and begin to feel apprehensive.
To establish a positive start for your pet’s vet experience, it is ideal to limit the time that you spend in the waiting room. Arranging an early morning appointment to avoid the peak time madness or waiting outside in the fresh air just before the examination can greatly aid with keeping your pet at ease beforehand.
Make it treat time
After successfully enduring the waiting room phase, the key next step is ensuring your pet feels comfortable in the examination room. When introducing your cherished cat, rabbit or dog to the examination table, it is common for your pet’s anxiety to be heightened due to the unusual environment, which can often lead to them behaving out of character and hastily avoiding the vet.
To help alleviate your pet’s consultation concerns, feel free to bring out their favourite treats or cherished toys to help distract their attention and relax them. Displeasing vet interference, such as having their temperature taken or eyes inspected can be greatly unpleasant, but praising them with an item from home or delicious eats can hugely help to keep the peace.
If you have any top tips or helpful advice for keeping your pet relaxed at the vet, why not share your thoughts in a comment below.