Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 3

Part 3 of our Happy Vet Visits series continues to touch upon tips that owners can try to reduce your pet’s stress level when going to the veterinarian.  It’s amazing how a few simple changes made at home can reduce the amount of anxiety and stress your pet experiences at the vet.  Increasing the amount of car rides between vet visits and desensitizing your pet to their pet carrier are great options to reduce stress, but there are more options to help your pet when he’s nervous about his vet appointment. 
  • Bring hungry pets.  Skipping or reducing the amount of food given to your pet prior to their vet appointment will make your pet more likely to accept treats in the exam room.
  • Bring plenty of your pet’s favorite treats to their appointment.  Even consider fresh deli meat or squeeze cheese as treats to sweeten the proposal for your pet. 
  • Offer treats often while in the lobby, exam room, and during the actual examination.  This provides a positive distraction for your pet.
If your pet gets nervous when going to the vet, try out these tips.  Many owners say their pets will not accept treats at the vet, but implementing the tips above will help entice your pet.  As always, consult with your veterinarian prior to reducing their food intake or offering different treats. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 2

The second subject we’d like to touch upon in our Happy Vet Visits series is desensitizing your pet to their carrier.  Unfortunately, many pets only associate their pet carrier with going to the vet, resulting in your pet fleeing when she sees her carrier.  Here are a few tips on making your pet’s carrier a welcome sanctuary:

  • Keep the carrier out at all times.  If this is not possible, try taking out the carrier at least a few days prior to your pet’s veterinary appointment.  Always keep the carrier’s door open so your pet can enter and exit as she pleases.
  • Make the carrier a comfy safe zone.  Furnish your pet's carrier with soft bedding, toys and treats.  The key is to make your pet's carrier so appealing that she enters on her own.
  • Spritz calming pheromones on the bedding inside your pet's carrier.  Cats enjoy Feliway and dogs love Adaptil.  Using these pheromones will increase your pet's chance of entering their carrier on their own free will.
  • Invest in a hard-sided carrier.  These sturdy carriers are extremely safe and eliminate the chance of injury should a heavy object fall against it.
  • Make sure the carrier has adequate ventilation.  Ideal carriers will have openings on all three sides.
  • Invest in a carrier with a removable top.  Once your pet associates her carrier as a "safe place", examinations can easily performed inside the carrier if she prefers.  This can reduce your pet's anxiety during her physical exam.

Next time you schedule your pet’s check-up, considering trying out these helpful tips.  Even if your pet is not due to see the vet, it’s best to try these tips early on.  The more time your pet has to associate her carrier as a safe zone, the easier it will be to place her in the carrier when it’s time to visit the vet!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 1

As we educate our clients about our pet-centered practice, we will be providing a series of tips to help make your pet’s visit a pleasurable one.  The idea behind a pet-centered practice is that we put your pet’s comfort and emotions first and foremost.  Many owners find going to the vet a stressful endeavor, however, some simple changes can result in calmer vet visits.
Many pets find car rides stressful and often display anxious behavior due to associating car rides with visits to the veterinarian.  We recommend introducing car rides between vet visits to reduce your pet’s veterinary anxiety.  Here are a few helpful tricks:
  • Make sure your pet hasn’t eaten a few hours prior to taking a quick car ride.  Some pets vomit due to stress and holding off on treats during these quick trips reduces the chance of a mess.
  • Make the car ride short and sweet.  Start off with a quick 5 minute trip and return directly home.  Once you arrive home, make sure to reward your pet with affection and treats!
  • When taking your cat for a quick car ride, make sure their carrier is as level as possible, facing the carrier forward in the rear seat.  Draping the carrier with a blanket or sheet, allowing only the front area exposed, can help make your cat feel comfortable.
  • Use soothing pheromones!  Spraying Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs) on your seat cover has been shown to reduce anxiety.
  • Try increasing the duration of rides and consider making “pet friendly” stops, such as a bank drive through, as these businesses often offer treats for your four-legged fur baby.
  • Stop in for a treat!  Make a quick stop at your veterinarian's office for a treat.  Familiarizing your pet with her vet's office through frequent, quick visits will make her more comfortable with smells, sounds and staff members that she will encounter during her exams. 
  • Don’t forget to relax!  Pets easily sense when their owner has fear or anxiety, resulting in stress on your pet.  If you approach car rides calmly, your pet will follow suit!
Taking your pet for frequent, quick drives between vet visits can make a world of difference.  Your pet will learn to associate car rides with something pleasurable, rather than stressful, making your next trip to the vet a breeze!  Always consult with your veterinarian prior to trying out any of these helpful tips.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bringing Home a New Puppy or Kitten?

Spring is right around the corner, which means an abundance of puppies and kittens will be welcomed into their new homes.  Start your new four-legged fur baby on the right paw with a few tips that will help you in the future.

Let’s face it, most pets do not enjoy nail trims.  My advice is to familiarize your pet with nail trims from day one.  Play with his paws, let him smell the nail trimmers and always use positive reinforcement when he responds with desirable behavior (ex. allowing you to trim a few nails without any pulling or fidgeting).  Familiarizing your pet to nail trims and playing with their paws at a young age will make trimming their nails a simple task.

Two other areas that pets can be sensitive about are their ears and mouths.  Desensitizing them by frequently touching these areas, and giving your pet positive reinforcement, is an excellent way to teach your pet that ear and teeth cleaning can be a pleasant experience.  In fact, you’re teaching them that if they allow you to clean their ears or teeth, they receive a reward!

When you bring a new pet into the home, it’s a good idea to teach him proper feeding manners.  When offering a treat, encourage your pet to take the treat gently from your hand.  This can avoid any potential accidents in the future.

We highly encourage puppy classes at an early age.  Enrolling your puppy in an obedience course will socialize them, start them off on the right track to appropriate behavior and give you guidance on how to properly train your pet.  

Implementing these guidelines from day one can place your fur-baby on the track to success from the beginning, saving you stress in the future.  Always consult your veterinarian if any questions or concerns arise.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Bathing Battle

Do you find bathing your four-legged fur baby a battle?  How about cleaning ears or trimming nails?  Did these questions raise your blood pressure?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, trust me, you’re not alone!  Your bathtub at home is most certainly not designed with bathing your fur baby in mind.  Even if you make a valiant effort, you finish with a sore back, more water outside the tub than inside and a clogged drain from pet hair!  If this sounds familiar, we have some great news.  Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod is pleased to offer soothing bathing options at our Salty Paws Resort!

Our newly renovated resort offers a brand new hydraulic bathing tub providing the deepest clean and scrub, from soothing oatmeal to medicated baths.  Dogs really appreciate the ease of the hydraulic lift – no need to go up any stairs or be lifted.  Our older or arthritic dogs really appreciate this feature!  Our baths also include the following upon request:

  • Nail Trim
  • Ear Cleaning
  • Anal Gland Expression   

We have received a “five paw” rating from our four legged friends!  Give us a call today to make an appointment.