Friday, June 7, 2013

When Your Pet is Afraid of the Vet

As veterinary professionals, we see lots of fearful pets. For most of these animals, the veterinary office is associated with unpleasant events. For your pet, these unpleasant events can be invasive things like needles, rectal thermometers, or the dreaded nail trim, but they can also be less obvious situations like a crowded waiting room, a strange sound, or a new smell. Things that you may not notice can be very scary for your pet, especially if they spend most of their time in your home.
At VACC we do everything we can to make your pet's visit as comfortable as possible. All of our exam rooms have Feliway diffusers to soothe our feline friends, and an assortment of treats for our canine friends. We approach each of our patients as individuals, using the least amount of restraint possible, and doing our best to make their visit a positive one.
Here are some things you can do to help your pet's visit have more wags and purrs:
  • Stop by for a treat. Technicians are always happy to shower your pet with love and cookies! This strategy works better before your pet has learned to be afraid of us, but can help those who are already fearful as well. If your pet is anxious before they even get inside the building, ask a staff member to bring a treat out to the parking lot. If your pet is afraid of getting on the scale (aren't we all?) come in for a quick weight check and a treat, then leave. The important thing to keep in mind is keep these visits short and happy. It's also a good idea to call ahead to make sure we are not very busy so you won't be waiting long.
  • Teach your cat to love her carrier. Unfortunately for many cats, their visit to the vet begins with being rudely stuffed into the carrier. If your cat learns to associate the carrier with positive things, it will make trips to the vet much easier on you, your cat, and all of the veterinary staff!
  • Play with your pet's ears and feet. Start with three sessions a day lasting five minutes each and use lots of treats. Before you know it, your pet will be looking forward to having these normally sensitive areas handled by you, and they won't mind so much when it happens at the vet visit.
  • Keep calm. Your pet can sense more than you may realize, so if you are nervous they will likely be nervous as well.