Posted on: 17 June 2015Share
Regular veterinarian checkups help to keep your pet's physical health in tip-top condition, but it's important that the trip itself doesn't negatively affect the animal's emotional health. Visiting the vet can be an anxious time for pets, who have to contend with issues such as a car ride, encounters with other animals and a new setting. Try as you might, you can't reduce your pet's nervousness by explaining the importance of the checkup, so it's better to let your actions talk for you. Here are three simple ways to keep your animal as calm as possible when you visit the vet.
Practice Makes Perfect
The unfamiliar nature of a vet visit often causes anxiety for your pet, so it's ideal to simulate a checkup in your own home, according to pet expert Cesar Millan. He notes that pets can be nervous about being examined by a stranger, so you can mimic the process before the appointment. Lift your animal onto a table or counter to simulate the vet's checkup room and, while the animal stands, take a few minutes to handle each leg, slowly move your hands over the abdomen and lift the gums to inspect the teeth. Millan advocates waiting to begin your mock checkup until your animal is standing calmly.
Many veterinary clinics allow pet owners to schedule a visit with their animal but not go through the checkup process. This approach allows your pet to experience the waiting room, checkup room and the overall experience without actually going through the process of the checkup. Although the extra trip might feel unnecessary for you, it allows your pet to familiarize itself with the surroundings and, as a result, the pet might not feel the same anxiety when you visit on the day of the appointment. Check with the clinic to see if a practice visit is possible; if so, staff members will do their best to greet your pet in a friendly manner and will likely even offer some treats.
Calmness In The Car
Part of the anxiety associated with visiting the vet can be a trip in the car, especially if your pet doesn't enjoy this mode of transportation. Breaking a pet of its car phobia can take considerable effort, but there are multiple ways you can approach this issue. Try taking your pet on trips that have a positive outcome, such as visiting a dog park or a nature trail. Additionally, giving the pet a snack or new toy in the vehicle can create positive reinforcement, while placing a crate and comfortable bed in a designated section of your vehicle can make your pet feel more settled.
Talk with a veterinarian from a place like Chester Valley Veterinary Hospital if you have specific questions about better handling your pet's checkups.