A trip to the vet isn’t what he had in mind when you said “let’s go for a car ride,” but it’s a necessity of responsible pet care. Whether it’s an annual examination or because your furry loved one isn’t feeling well, many pets find the experience stressful to some degree. For those who don’t revel in the attention and the treats, there are many other things we can do to make it a more positive experience.
- If you’re using a carrier or crate to transport your pet, leave it out in your home for a couple of days prior to the appointment and allow your dog or cat to investigate it as they please. You can even offer some treats or feed a meal in there to make them more comfortable with their carrier.
- Use “happy” pheromones such as Feliway (for cats) and Adaptil (for dogs) to help naturally calm your pet. Depending on the product, they may come in sprays, wipes, collars or diffusers. Spraying your pet’s blanket within the carrier/crate is a great idea, as well!
- Consider alternative treatments for stress such as Zylkene (synthesized milk proteins) and/or Thundershirt (uses pressure points to reduce stress).
- Visit your vet when your pet doesn’t need anything done (these are called social visits). Your pet will get to enjoy some attention and treats without getting poked and prodded. This helps to create a positive association with the vet clinic.
- Talk to your vet team about your pet’s stress level. We always do our best to keep our patients as comfortable and calm as possible. Cats, for example, often feel more secure if they can stay in the base of their carrier for their examination. If your pet continues to show signs of extreme stress or anxiety, you may want to discuss a sedative for future visits.