For many pets, a visit to the doctor can be mean anxiety, fear and sometimes even aggression. Follow these four helpful tips to keep your pet calm at the vet!
1. Choose a Fear Free Certified veterinarian
The veterinary world acknowledges that some pets get overly stressed with visits to places outside of their comfort zone. Many practices throughout the country are now undergoing certification in a program called “Fear Free Pets” which means that veterinary staff are trained in how to manage and alleviate stress and anxiety during veterinary care visits. This program is fairly new to the mainstream animal health industry, but finding a certified veterinarian will mean your pet’s visits will be much calmer and happier!
2. Use pheromones
Calming pheromones are a great, natural way to reduce stress at the vet. These pheromones come in both dog and cat versions and mimic the same smell that nursing mothers produce to calm their babies. Pheromones come in collars, sprays, wipes and air diffusers to make it easy to use and apply in many situations. Often times, veterinary clinics will have these calming aids on hand to make the visit less stressful.
Some pets need a little extra help in the form of medication. There are many types of sedatives and anti-anxiety medications available to help your pet cope with anxiety during a trip to the vet. Often times, these medications are given about an hour before your appointment time and last only 4-6 hours in total. Some pets may need daily medication, whereas others may just need medication the morning of their vet visit.
4. Desensitization and “Happy Visits”
You can help your pet learn to relax at the vet by bringing them into your vet’s office for a “happy visit” which includes lots of petting and treats, but no actual shots or procedures. You pet can become desensitized with this positive reinforcement and can learn to love visits to your vet! Treats are almost always a great way to help your pet stay calm during a stressful time.