5 tips for a stress-free visit to the vet
Vet visits come with the territory of owning a pet. Whether it’s just for an annual check-up or perhaps managing a more serious illness, your pet will at some stage in their lives need to see a vet. Of course, it’s no secret a vet’s office can be overwhelming for pets, but there’s no need for these visits need to overwhelm you too. With some careful preparation, heading to the vet can be stress free for everyone involved.
1. Get your pet comfortable with handling
One of the main reasons your pet may stress about the vet is that they aren’t used to being handled in the ways a vet will. Some pets become agitated when they are pushed and poked, especially when it’s their tail or paws. So, making sure your pet is comfortable is the first step to easing their anxiety. Before you head to the vet, put in some time when your pet is relaxed at home to get them used to being touched in places they may not be used to. This will make them feel more at ease when your vet does need to do a physical examination.
2. Don’t associate their carrier with the vet
Stress free vet visits can easily start before you even leave the house. Some cats know that bringing out a carrier means a trip to the vet and can send them running. Try bringing out their carrier a few days before their scheduled appointment if you can, or better yet, use the carrier on trips besides the vet so they don’t begin to associate their carrier with vet visits. Giving your pet some time to explore their carrier will make them more comfortable around it.
3. Destress yourself
Even though it’s your pet with the appointment, owners can also get anxious at the thought of taking their pet to the vet. Whether it’s not knowing what is wrong with your pet or being a little nervous about the bill at the end, vets can be just as stressful for owners as pets. It’s important to remain calm not only for your own sake, but also for your vet to ensure they can do the best job they can.
4. Explore the vet before their appointment
If your pet doesn’t cope well at the vet, sometimes it’s a good idea to take them to the clinic for several “friendly visits” prior to their appointment to get them familiar with the environment. A vet’s waiting room is full of new scents, other animals and people, so an early visit can gently ease them into it. Create positive associations for your pet at the veterinary clinic on these visits by giving your pet a treat and allowing them to positively interact with the reception staff. Additionally, if you know your pet doesn’t do well around lots of animals or in new surroundings, it’s a good idea to try and schedule their appointment at a time when the clinic is less busy. Generally, avoiding weekends is best, but your vet will be able to tell you the quietest to avoid your pet becoming more anxious than they need to be.
5. Come prepared
Your pet obviously won’t be able communicate with the vet at their appointment so it’s important to make notes of any symptoms they may be displaying to better help your vet. Anything out of the ordinary or that is causing you concern, can greatly help your vet to properly diagnose and treat your pet. Other important information your vet may find useful in understanding your pet’s health include a medical history (especially if you have seen a different vet previously), details of your pets most recent vaccination and the names of any medications, supplements and/or parasite preventative treatments you’re using at home.