Trip to the Veterinarian
In a survey of pet owners, results indicated that the stress of taking your pet to the veterinarian’s office was a major reason for not seeking veterinary care. Your pet needs regular preventive medical care from your veterinarian to ensure health and quality of life. Here are some ideas to ease the process:
Pheromone spray. A pheromone is a species-specific chemical naturally released by your cat/dog. These naturally occurring pheromones are available from local and online pet stores. Spray the pheromones on your pet’s bedding or on a bandanna to be worn around your pet’s neck one to two hours before coming to the veterinary practice. The scent of lavender has been shown to have a calming effect on dogs during car travel. An item that smells like home, such as a blanket your pet sleeps on or a t-shirt you’ve worn can also provide comfort for your pet. For dogs, consider spraying a bandana with a calming pheromone and placing it on your dog’s neck. When you use pheromone sprays, allow the pheromone to dry for 10 to 15 minutes before exposing your pet to the sprayed item.
Kennel/Crate. When transporting your cat or small dog in a carrier, minimize movement. If possible, support the carrier from the bottom, with one side resting against your chest, as if you are carrying a fragile gift. This helps your pet to feel more secure and ensures that they aren’t eye to eye with other animals as you walk into Hope. Make sure your pet is comfortable with confinement for travel. Carriers for cats and small dogs or crates or seatbelt harnesses for medium-size to large dogs are safe options for car travel. Use yummy treats to condition your dog to wearing a seatbelt harness. Keep the carrier/crate out in commonly used areas of the house at all times and incorporate some of these techniques to create a carrier/crate oasis: put your pet’s favorite toys or bedding near or in the carrier/crate; play with your pet near the carrier/crate; place a pheromone-infused towel or bed or an object of clothing permeated with your scent inside the confinement area; place treats, catnip (for our feline friends), or a rubber food puzzle toy with canned food inside the carrier; and feed your pet in or near the carrier/crate. Let your pet enter on his/her own. You can teach your pet to enter the carrier/crate on cue to earn a food reinforce, or toss a treat or toy into the carrier/crate. Bringing the kennel/crate out only when they are traveling can induce stress if they only associate it with scary visits.
Hiding places. Some pets feel more comfortable when they can hide. Provide a blanket in the crate for your pet to hide under. You can also use a blanket to cover the crate and give your pet a sense of protection. Spray it with pherimones prior to leaving.
Car rides. Cats should be resting comfortably in their carrier before being placed in the vehicle. Walk dogs to the car on leash. Like cats, small dogs can get in the carrier indoors and be carried to the car. Consider placing your pet’s crate in the floor of the front seat to provide a visual barrier. Play calming music specially composed for cats and dogs, or pop in an audiobook to detract from the noise of the engine running and traffic. Safety belts specially adapted for dogs are also available. Be matter of fact, and don’t speak to your pet in a sing-song voice. If you are calm, happy and relaxed, your pet will be, too If your pet does get car sick or anxious, give any prescribed anti-nausea or anti-anxiety supplements or medications we have proscribed.
Practice sessions. Have a nervous pet? Ask about our happy visit cards. Call ahead to find out when there is a quiet time to visit. During the visit, your pet can calmly walk around the practice and even enter the exam room. We will use treats and positive praise with your pet as you tour around. Get a $5 credit after 5 visits and $10 credit after 10 visits!
Distractions/Favorite Toys or Grooming Brush. Bring some familiar items your pet likes. This will help your pet relax in the veterinary hospital. The veterinary team may ask you to use these items to help distract your pet during the visit.
Choose a comfortable place. If your pet is nervous when you arrive at Hope, be sure to find a quiet seat away from other pets. If necessary, you can request that you and your pet be placed in an exam room right away to minimize stress. Remember we have species specific lobbys so go to whichever makes your pet more at ease.
Taking your pet to us should be a fun interactive experience. If you feel something could be done differently to make your pet more comfortable, do not hesitate to discuss these concerns with us. We want to make your pet’s experience positive to deliver the highest quality of care.