How to Help Promote a Positive Vet Experience
Going to the vet can be a stressful experience for both you and your pet. All of the new sounds, smells, sights, and people can be overwhelming for your pet. Plus, then they are being examined by people they don’t know very well. It makes sense why it can be stressful!
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior points out that 38% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners say their animals hate going to the vet. Because of this, these pet owners are less likely to visit their veterinarian.
But routine vet visits are so important for your pet’s overall health. Preventative care and veterinary checkups help protect your pet from preventable illnesses and can help detect diseases early. Unfortunately, your pet doesn’t understand the importance of vet visits and may still have anxiety when it comes to going to the vet.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to help promote a positive vet experience for you, your pet, and your vet!
Tips for Promoting a Positive Vet Experience
- Get your pet used to being touched. One of the key ways to help promote a positive vet experience is to make sure your pet is used to being touched and handled. Gently touch your pet around their mouth, ears, paws, etc. on a regular basis. If your pet doesn’t generally like to be handled, you can help make this a more positive experience by giving your pet a treat or toy while you handle them.
- Acclimate your pet to a variety of situations. If possible, try to acclimate your dog or cat to a variety of situations, people, animals, sounds, and smells. This will help your pet adjust to change much quicker and create positive behaviors during new situations.
- Try to be calm and patient. Similar to children, pets can detect our emotions. If you act anxious and stressed every time you take your pet to the vet, they may feed off of your anxiety. Being calm and patient can help promote a positive experience.
- Do whatever you can to distract and comfort your pet. You know your pet best. If they don’t get along with other animals very well, it may be best to take them in a carrier or use a muzzle. Otherwise, you can help comfort and distract your pet by petting them, giving them treats, playing calm music, and staying with them as much as you can during the visit.
- Tire your pet out before the appointment. If your pet has a lot of energy, it might help to go for a walk or find another way to burn off that energy and tire them out before the vet visit.
- Bring your pet to the vet clinic at other times than just the appointment. You can help create a positive association with the vet clinic by going to the clinic for a treat, toy, or simply to say “hi” to the receptionists and vet techs.
- Get creative. If your pet really struggles with vet visits, you might have to get a little creative. Consider taking your pet to the vet during their slower hours, so it’s not as loud or hectic. Ask your vet if your pet can be brought immediately into an exam room so you can skip the waiting room. Another option? Ask your vet if he or she does house calls so that you can avoid the vet clinic completely.
- Talk to your vet about medication. If your pet is overly stressed and anxious, you should talk to your vet about medication that can help decrease their stress and anxiety. There are a variety of medications that your vet can prescribe to help ease your pet’s anxiety.
If all else fails, simply talk to your vet. Communication is key! They want what’s best for your pet, so they should be willing to go out of their way to help make vet visits as stress-free as possible!