How to make vet visits less stressful

Visits to the vet can be stressful for pets, which in turn can make it stressful for owners, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

“With preparation and some helpful tools, your pet can learn that going to the vet isn’t always a scary experience,” explains PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing.

Before your appointment Nina said: “It’s a good idea to start preparing your pet for their vet visit before any routine appointments; you can do this in a number of ways.”

If your pet is anxious, you should let your vet know when booking your appointment, they may be able to book you in at a quieter time, or offer advice surrounding what to do when you arrive.

Exercise will not completely prevent anxiety, but if your pooch has a nice long walk or run at the park, or your cat has a play session before heading out to the vets for a routine check, they may feel a little more relaxed.

The vet is likely to examine your pet once you get into the consultation room, so you could try and get them used to this at home beforehand.

Before your appointment it’s a good idea to start preparing your pet for their vet visit.  Picture: Pixabay/mirkosajkov

Depending on their size, you could practice lifting and placing them on a table, as well as examining them ahead of time.

Gently look over parts of their body such as their paws, legs, tummy, eyes and ears.

Check one area each day and after each short check, if your pet has been calm, reward them with a small treat, repeat this until they are comfortable with the experience.

Get your cat used to their carrier ahead of the visit. Scent is also very important to cats, they will be much happier to go in the carrier and settle down if they can smell their own scent on the bedding inside so use blankets that are familiar.

The waiting room
To settle your pet, you should try and sit in a quieter spot, away from the door and other entering animals.

If you have a dog, keep them on a short but loose lead and encourage them to sit and focus on you (small treats may help with this).

For vet practices that provide cat areas, they may have cat carrier shelves, where you can place cats in their baskets higher up from the floor and in their own separate space. Cats when scared like to hide, so keep them in their carrier covering three sides and the to.

Stay calm
Our pets can sense our feelings as owners so it’s important to also stay calm and relaxed when waiting to go into your appointment. That way it will reassure your pet that there is nothing to be worried about.

The appointment
Unless your pet has a reason not to accept treats such as a poorly tummy or you’ve been asked not to feed them before their appointment, being armed with small treats can help your pet during their appointment.

Also rewarding them during the experience and afterwards will help them for next time.


Pictures: Pixabay/mirkosajkov

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