Nobody likes going to the doctor, but we are continually looking for ways to make your pet’s visit less stressful. You won’t notice, but your pet will smell calming pheromones in the air as they enter our hospital. We will approach your pet in a manner that will appear less threatening. We will speak in calm, quiet voices during cat exams to help them relax. If your dog knows any tricks we may ask him to show off, because the confidence and praise he gets for doing well will help erase fear. We will make adjustments as needed throughout your visit to accommodate your pet’s personality. Last, but not least, we will hand out lots of treats, which is a large part of what makes our clinic a fun place to be!
What can YOU do to make your pet’s veterinary visit less stressful?
- Don’t feed them on the day of their appointment! It’s a challenge, I know, but a hungry
pet is more eager to take treats. And they LOVE going to the place with all the yummy goodies! Treats can be used as a distraction for unpleasant procedures, such as vaccines or nail trims.
**If your pet is diabetic or has other medical conditions requiring regular feeding, please disregard this recommendation.
**Please make us aware of any special dietary restrictions your pet may have.
- If they travel in a carrier, teach them that this is a happy place.
Spray it with the calming pheromones Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs) ahead of time so that they are already relaxed. Check out these handouts for more guidance:
- Teach your pet to sit on a bath mat. You can then bring the mat to the vet clinic with you, place it on the scale so he will sit on it to be weighed, and put in the exam room so he has a comfy place to sit and be examined.
- Teach your dog (or even your cat!) to “Target” or “Touch”. Teaching them to follow your hand provides a way to direct them through different areas of the hospital. It also allows them to focus on performing a command rather than on what is going on around them.
- Does your pet get car sick? Feeling nauseous in the car can increase your pet’s anxiety even before they get to the clinic. Signs of car sickness can include vomiting, excess drooling and excessive panting. Cerenia is an excellent medication for the treatment of nausea associated with travel. Please let us know if your pet suffers from car sickness.
- Anxitane is a natural supplement that contains pure L-theanine, a constituent found in green tea that has been shown to calm and relax dogs and cats. Giving this to your pet the evening and morning prior to their visit can improve their experience. It is a chewable tablet for both dogs and cats. Let us know if you are interested.
- If these things aren’t enough to calm your nervous buddy then consider trying a ThunderShirt. ThunderShirts are like a jacket for your dog that provides constant gentle pressure around their torso. This comforting “hug” has been shown to help 80% of dogs. Not sure? We can loan you one for your visit to see if it works for your pet. Just give us a call.
- And last, but not least: Avoid “yelling” or providing punishment for mis-behavior. This only increases their anxiety. Ignore the behavior (such as growling or wiggling) and redirect to another behavior when appropriate. Provide lots of praise for proper behavior.