Spring has sprung! A sure sign that Spring is here in the Posh Pets® household is that we plan our annual vet visit with our favourite veterinarian. Yesterday, I made the phone call – I always phone early, long before the reminder in mail arrives – because their vet is one of the best and is in great demand. If we want to see her specifically, we need to book early.
I realize that I am very fortunate to have two kitties who do not seem to mind their visit to their docotr. To them, the vet visit is a new place to explore and to be made a fuss of. It may be a product of the fact that, although being rescues, they have always been healthy. Sure, there is the occasional needle, but Baxter is far too much a gentleman to complain and Panda purrs through the whole thing.
However, every dog and cat is an individual and, just like the people, there are so many of us that can get a bit nervous for a simple and routine check-up. I am one of those people, so I can completely sympathize with our furry family members who just do. not. want. to. go.
So, for those cat mums and dog dads who struggle with their pet’s anxiety before you even walk in the door, here are a few ideas to make the vet visit as stress-free as possible.
1. Start with the car
Make sure your pets are familiar and comfortable with riding in the car. Take them on errands or play days at the park so that they associate your car with fun and harmless activities. If they associate riding in the car with more than a trip to the vet, their anxiety will not start as early or be as prolonged. While this may be a simple idea for dogs, consider also getting your cat to go on short trips with you in their carrier. It will depend on their character and if they enjoy such things, but a car ride that is just that – a short trip with no stress – can be a great start to a stress-free vet visit.
2. Choose the right veterinarian/clinic
A good relationship with your veterinarian is a must! If you are uneasy or do not trust your current vet, it makes for a stressful situation for you. Do not underestimate how much in tune your pet is with your emotions; if you’re uneasy they will be too. In most cities, there are a number of veterinary clinics and hospitals, so you will often have a choice. If car rides are already fun for your dog or cat, you can expand your area of search. I know that for the first few years, we drove an hour to get to a vet that we felt comfortable with.
3. Be social
Call ahead and arrange for a visit to your chosen vet just to say hello. If their first few visit are fun, easy events with lots of attention and treats and, most importantly, without the poking and prodding that a normal visit entails, they will be at ease when it comes time for a real visit. Most veterinarian offices are more than happy to accommodate these visits. The staff at our clinic love meeting new puppies and kittens as well as the older, but new family members.
4. Gather the evidence
It might seem like a small thing, but have all of the information regarding your pet’s health ready for when you go for the vet visit. Bring in any samples you need. Keep good records of any changes in their behaviour. For example, there is a great difference between telling your veterinarian that your dog has experienced diarrhea a ‘few times’ and providing very specific times and dates. I have found that it can assist them in diagnosing a potential problem more quickly, perhaps avoiding costly additional tests if they feel they are simply trying to narrow it down a cause to some common symptoms.
Any other tips that you have found helpful? Let us know in the comments below!