While we love our pets and companions, vet visits can be tricky with a new world of smells and new people while feeling poorly mixed in with the fact that they may not understand what is happening, it can be a recipe for disaster.
It needn’t be. Here are our tips for a stress-free vet visit.
- Manage your own anxiety. Much like a person your pet receives your vibe. Talk to them in relaxing tones and try not to panic. They look to you for your cues.
- Dogs think through their noses – calming smells may actually help! You could bring their favourite blanket or toy. Some of your own clothing – a jumper or t-shirt may help if they need to stay overnight
- Leave their carrier out so your pet gets used to it and use for things other than the vet trip so they don’t associate it just with the vet. You could take them to the beach in it (if you have a dog) or feed your cat their favourite treat or meal in the carrier.
- TREATS! If your companion is mad for a particular treat bring these with you. Remember to also bring their favourite toy.
- Give them space and calm in the waiting room. If the room is manic with other pets, you can wait outside, just let the team know where you are.
- Keep them facing you and keep them busy during the exam if possible. Tell them they are the best (because they are), that they are special and loved. Distract with a treat if appropriate.
- If your companion struggles with anything in particular, let staff know ahead of time. Try and also get them used to handling and even visit the vet ahead of time too. This may help on the day.
- If they seem to want a cuddle, pet them and talk to them.
- Get your pet familiar with the car if they aren’t usually! This is especially important for a cat. Leaving the car doors open may help your naturally curious cat!
- Travel safely… this is just as important for companions as it is for humans. Crates and carriers are common along with pet seat belts. Some small dogs enjoy sitting in specialty ‘booster seats’.
- Even with the preparation, your visit may not go 100% smoothly so to help you remember, write down the symptoms or film your companion with their symptoms them to help give the vet as much information to assist in a diagnosis. Also, ask the vet for tips on how to administer medications.
- Once home give them a cuddle and some quiet time. Let them know they are loved and important. Perhaps a special dinner may help too.
Remember to tell your pet they were very good and that you’re very proud of them. Good luck!