Going to a veterinarian's office can be the cause of many headaches for pet owners. The battle can begin for some as soon as the pet carrier is pulled out of the closet and doesn't end until after the visit is complete and the carrier has been put away. However, a trip to see the veterinarian doesn't need to be such a struggle. PawNation is here to help the process become much less stressful and possibly even fun for your cat or dog. Find out how to prep your pet for a trip to the vet.
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TOUCH YOUR PET FROM HEAD TO TAIL
A trip to the vet means lots of handling. The veterinarian and any staff members are all going to touching your pet everywhere. You can help this become an easier process for your cat or dog by doing it at home. Rub your pet from head to tail, taking the time to touch its stomach, ears and even its mouth. A vet is going to examine all of those areas, so getting your pet used to the excessive touching is going to be a big help once you are actually in the exam room.
HAVE "LOVE HOUR" BEFORE LEAVING
Spend time loving on your pet before you leave for the vet. The hour before your appointment should be a calm hour of love and affection for your cat or dog. Putting your pet in a peaceful state of mind is much better than dealing with an agitated and upset animal. Staying calm and at ease yourself helps your pet to know that there is nothing to fear about leaving for the vet. They have received love and attention from you, and now you are leaving together in a relaxed manner.
BRING COMFORTS FROM HOME
Before leaving the house, wrap your pet in a blanket or towel with the smell of home. You can also line the carrier if your pet doesn't like to be confined in one instead. Bring along any favorite toys, and put them in the carrier. Pull them out once at the vet's office so that you can keep your cat or dog entertained and distracted with familiar items.
STOP BY TO SAY HI
Going to the vet's office doesn't always have to be for a specific reason. If your cat or dog is really hating that annual trip, then make it more frequent. Talk to the vet and staff beforehand and arrange a time to swing by the office and just visit with them. Have treats on hand so that your vet can give them to your pet and form a positive bond. The frequent visits can help to put your pet more at ease when it's time for the "real" vet visits.
TAKE SHORT CAR RIDES
Not all pets love to go on car rides, especially cats and even some dogs. Take the time to make your pet more familiar with the car by going on short drives together. Start with a quick trip around the block and gradually build up the time until you reach the vet's office. This ensures that going to the vet isn't the only time your pet is in the car. As previously said, you can even make a trip to the vet's office with your cat or dog just to say hi.
FAMILIARIZE PETS WITH THEIR CRATE/CARRIER
Half the battle of taking your pet to the vet is getting it into its carrier. It becomes a fight to convince your cat or dog to get into it on its own, which could result with you being covered in scratches or bites from the struggle. Make the entire process easier on yourself by making the crate more familiar to your pet. Leave it open in the kitchen or living room and incorporate it into playtime. Place favorite toys or blankets inside to encourage your cat or dog to spend time inside of it. Make the act of going into the carrier a positive one, so your pet doesn't panic every time you pull it out in preparation for a trip to the vet.
WAITING ROOM ETIQUETTE
Now that you've finally arrived at the veterinary office, the waiting continues. Being surrounded by barking dogs, hissing cats and anxious animals in general can understandably upset your own pet. You need to stay calm yourself since your cat or dog takes its cues from you. Keep your pet in its carrier for as long as possible, and even consider covering the carrier with a towel or blanket from home. The familiar smell can help to keep your pet calm while waiting for the vet.
TEACH YOUR PET BASIC COMMANDS
This is mainly for dogs, but some cat owners have success teaching their felines basic commands to obey. It is important for your pet to listen to you, especially when in a strange environment like a vet's office. Knowing when to sit, stay or lay down makes moving in and around the office and exam rooms a much less stressful process. You should feel confident that your pet is going to listen and be well trained enough to obey you.
CREATE A CALM STATE OF MIND
If "love hour" doesn't do the trick and your pet is simply too agitated, consider using holistic helpers. Pheromone sprays and herb or flower extracts can all work to put your pet into a peaceful state of mind. The efforts to create a sense of calm in your cat or dog makes a trip to the vet much easier on you.
Pictured: cat wearing calming collar
Next: 10 Things You Shouldn't Say to Your Vet
BE PREPARED WITH DETAILS
This step is more for you than your pet, but it is still helpful to everyone. Have detailed medical records ready, especially if you are going to a new vet. The vet isn't the one seeing your pet every day — you are. Have food brands written down with specifics about how much you are feeding your cat or dog and how much is consumed. Be as precise as you can be with measurements. Saying that you give your pet a handful of dry food isn't helpful to your vet. Providing detailed records ultimately keeps your pet in better health, which is why you're going to the vet's office in the first place.