For some pets, a simple trip to the veterinarian for a routine wellness exam or vaccination can turn into a nightmare. Whether the anxiety begins at home when you pull out the carrier, or starts when you walk through the clinic doors, handling a stressed-out or fearful pet is a daunting task for any pet owner.
Relieving a pet’s fear of the vet should be a joint effort shared by pet owners and their veterinarians. At Union Lake Pet Services, we take anxiety in pets seriously and are committed to working with you to help your pet get the high quality care he or she deserves.
The Problem with a Fear of the Vet
Every caretaker of a fearful pet knows the drill; you know your pet should be seen by a veterinarian, but you’re hesitant due to the stress it will cause for your pet and yourself. Unfortunately, many dogs and cats miss out on important medical care due to their fear of the vet. This makes it critical to help your pet overcome his or her anxiety.
Helping Your Pet
Making sure your pet begins the journey in a relaxed state is the first step in alleviating anxiety at the veterinarian’s office. The following training tactics can be useful allies in the fight against veterinary anxiety in pets:
- Just seeing the carrier being pulled out is the beginning of the end for many fearful cats. By training your cat to relax or even enjoy being in his or her carrier, you can start the trip to the vet’s office off on the right paw (check out our tips!).
- Teach your pet to ride safely and comfortably in the car by getting him or her used to car rides that end in a fun activity or treat.
- Make sure that your pet is comfortable having his or her body touched. Practice doing mock “exams” at home by touching your pet’s paws, gently prodding his or her abdomen, and looking inside the ears and under the tail.
- Consider using a Thundershirt or similar compression garment designed to reduce a pet’s anxiety.
- Create a positive association for your pet with the veterinarian by stopping by our office from time to time for treats and snuggles.
A Little Training Goes a Long Way
Anxious pets may benefit from having something else to think about while they are in the veterinarian’s office. Asking your dog to perform a command, such as “sit” or “lie down”, can relieve stress and redirect him or her to focus on something other than fear or anxiety.
Doing Our Part
Union Lakes Pet Services is proud to implement the Fear Free Initiative techniques in our practice, meaning that we have taken extra steps to ensure that your pet feels more calm and comfortable while in our clinic. Our training team also offers a positive reinforcement-based program designed to help pets overcome their fear of the vet. Please give us a call for more details.
We look forward to seeing you and your pet!