If you have a pet then you understand the dreaded visit to the vet. It is one of those duties that must be preformed but isn’t overly loved. Well you’re not alone, chances are, your pet doesn’t love it either.
Many people aren’t real fond of going to the doctor’s or dentist’s office. We, however, understand why we go there and the need to do so. Our pets, on the other hand, are completely clueless of the need for the visit.
The waiting rooms are totally different. Humans sit and wait in a quiet room with gentle music playing while our pets deal with strange smells and loud noises. We can read a book and watch television while they can listen to cats, dogs and other creatures. Just a few minutes of sitting in the waiting area surrounded by strange scents and the sound of barking dogs and meowing cats can be very stressful for your pet.
Good health for our pet is dependent on regular examinations. Making the visit to the vet a better experience for both you and your pet is possible. Following a few simple steps will perhaps ease the stress of facing the infamous vet’s office.
Take your pet on frequent short car rides. If your pet is only accustom to rides to an “unpleasant” place they will always have that fear the minute the car is started. Go for a ride to a park and take a walk or simply ride around the block. Teaching your pet that a car ride does not have to be a feared and stressful event will build their confidence. Give them praise and a treat for good measure.
Go for a ride to the vets office without getting out of the car. Then go back another day and park the car and walk around outside letting them smell around and play. Another day go again and go into the waiting room and visit with the veterinary staff. Sit for a while with your pet giving them lots of attention and love. Supply treats to the staff to give to your pet. Ask the staff when a good time would be for you to come back and take your pet to an examining room to investigate. If you have a good vet they will more than likely not mind coming in paying attention to your pet. This would be great for a new young pet but will also help if your pet, no matter what age, is stressed to go to the vet. The “fake vet trips” will help your pet associate the vet with a positive experience. Frequent visits will help your pet to feel more comfortable when a real vet visit takes place.
Practice “examinations” on your pet by checking their belly, teeth, mouth, ears, eyes, toes, nose and whatever else to help them feel comfortable. If you can find a slippery metal surface that your pet can stand on while you examine would be even better. Treats and praise are really good here also.
Helping your pet to feel comfortable with a collar and leash in a confined area is a good idea. They may do great going for a walk where they can go as far as the leash allows, but in a waiting room that pleasure is not available. Crazy as it sounds, sit in the bathroom with your pet on a “short” leash. It may be a frustrating experience at first until they accept there is no place to go. After sitting in the bathroom on a “short” leash the waiting room will feel huge.
Dealing with all the other pets in the waiting room is another thing. In a perfect world everyone would make sure their pet stays in a confined area near them. But as you know we do not live in a perfect world. If the office is really crowded or there are some irresponsible pet owners, simply take your dog outside (weather permitting) or wait in the car. Let the staff know you are there for your appointment prior to stepping out. The staff will notify you when it is time to bring your pet in to see the vet.
It would be considerate to alert the staff if you are aware of aggressive behavior from your pet. It would be equally as nice to let them know if your pet is prone to biting or scratching. I am sure there are enough surprise attacks that they would be grateful for a heads up on the possibility of being blindsided. The key to a smooth vet office visit is communication.
Stay calm because pets feel exactly what their owners feel. If you are tense and nervous at the vet your feelings will be transmitted to your pet. If you remain calm then your pet will more than likely be more relaxed and less anxious. Treats and praise for anything good while waiting can never hurt. Remain calm if your beloved pet is taken behind closed doors. Your pet will probably calm down a whole lot more with you out of the room!
Pay close attention to your vet’s behavior and your pet’s demeanor when the vet people are in the room with you. A vet with a light touch and kind word will be able to relate to your pet and your pet to them. If they are in a hurry and rush or handle them without a gentle hand, then your pet will surely be unhappy. If the harsh one can’t or won’t treat your pet with loving gentle kindness then switch vets!
I have always made a point to make sure that my veterinarian & his staff have knowledge of who I am when I walk in the door or call. I also make sure my two cats are completely comfortable w/ the staff & their handling. My 10 yr calico is the best judge of character I know! If she’s not happy you obviously did something to upset her. One time at a vet clinic they went to draw blood & they took her in back. They were gone for over 20 minutes. It was an annual routine blood draw – that does not take 20 mins! All of a sudden I hear all the door close & the entire clinic disappeared int the back. Come to find out they did something to tick her off & she freaked out on them, jumped off the table & was being basically fractious with them. Now had the staff thought about this for a minute & come & gotten me a lot of the problem could have been resolved by me walking in back & picking her up myself. On top of that they tried to hide it & denied it! The receptionist finally told me what happened! Needless to say I never went back & I have my vet draw the blood while I am in the room. Most vets will accommodate your wishes.
A good article. I try to keep my dogs as calm as possible on the way and while in the waiting room. Taking a blanket or a toy will keep the animal’s attention away from where they are so they will stay calm. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, and while your pet may not want to be at the vet, it’s certainly in its best interest.
I think all dogs dread a trip to the vet’s office after their first visit. The best thing to do is to stay with them for as much of the visit as possible, since your dog assumes that if you’re there, then things will over all be okay. It’s scary for the dog, just like a trip to the hospital is scary for us. At least we can have what’s going to happen to us be explained.