Unfortunately, many animals fear a trip to the vet, but we are hoping to change that and give your pet an enjoyable experience. We know you share our goal of making your pet feel safe and comfortable when visiting the Animal Hospital of Nashua, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you and your pet prepare for the trip to the vet’s office.
1. It all starts with the carrier.
Most pets only see the carrier when it’s time to go to the vet, which makes it difficult to get them in it when you bring it out. We recommend keeping the carrier in a location where your pet can see it on a daily basis. Although a carrier probably won’t fit in with your living room décor, you can try to place it in the laundry room or another less frequently seen space. If your pet gets comfortable with the carrier, it will probably be less nervous and more willing to go inside it.
2. Cars are fun!
For many animals (especially cats), riding in the car always results in going to the veterinarian and getting a shot. This makes them anxious before they even get to the office. Therefore, we recommend changing it up and taking your pet on a car ride to a place he will enjoy. For dog owners, drive to a dog park or a hiking trail to teach your best bud that car rides can be fun. For cats, it’s not as easy. If you’re not sure of an enjoyable location to take your feline friend, you could simply take your cat for a ride that includes treats and praise.
3. Play doctor.
Some pets are uncomfortable with people touching certain parts of their body, especially puppies that have not had those interactions before. Try to get your animal acquainted to the handling that a vet would do, such as playing with her ears, rubbing near her eyes, touching her paws, looking into her mouth, and holding her with mild restraint. You can also practice “taking her temperature” by lifting up her tail and touching her anus with a Q-tip. Always be sure to reward your pet with treats while you practice these activities to help her learn that she’s okay! To help her adjust to experiences with strangers, you can let your friends pet her and give her treats. If she’s comfortable with you and your friends interacting this way with her, she will be more likely to cooperate with the vet.
4. Social Visits
Pets get anxiety at the vet oftentimes simply because it’s an unfamiliar place. This problem has an easy fix – make your veterinarian’s office a familiar place! Ask if you can bring your pet simply for social visits. Just walk him around and love on him and give him treats to show him that the vet’s office is not a scary place. If the staff have time, you could also ask them to complete a mock exam or just to cuddle with your pet and give him treats. After a few visits, your pet will be used to the sights, smells, and experiences at the vet’s office, which will help ease his stress on his next real vet visit.
You also need to modify your behavior when you take your pet to the vet. If you are feeling anxious that your pet might misbehave, she can pick up on that. Animals have a keen sense of picking up on people’s moods, so if they sense your anxiety, they will likely become anxious too. Try to remain relaxed and reassure your pet in a calm voice that everything is fine and she’s okay.
We hope these tips help you and your pet have a more enjoyable experience at The Animal Hospital of Nashua. Please be sure to try them out next time you visit us!