Taking a pet to the vet can be just as stressful for owners as it is to their pets. If your dog, cat or other pet is under the weather, the chances are you are extremely worried about them. However, your pet too will feel very anxious as they are put into a cage or a pet carrier and then put in the car. For cats in particular, this can be a real ordeal for them to have to cope with.
Below are a few tips and a little advice on how to make that all-important preparation a little easier and how to cope with what is often a stressful trip down the road.
Cats, if they are happy to be in cat carriers tend to be more relaxed when they have to travel in a car. However, if they are not used to a pet carrier, you might well find they freak out just at having to go in it, never mind then being put in the car! The key to reducing the amount of stress your cat has to go through is to get them used to going in their carrier without having them having to travel anywhere once they are in it.
One good idea is to regularly feed your cat in their pet carrier. If you place one of their favourite blankets in it making sure it is one that has not been washed but which all the right scents they like and then put the carrier out in a nice sunny/warm spot, you may find that your little feline friend even begins to like taking a nap in the carrier. You have to be very patient with your moggy and never force them into the carrier because this will end up frightening them which is something you need to avoid at all costs!
Dogs that are not used to travelling in a car can get hyper which includes being sick before they even get into the car! Puppies need to be introduced to travelling in a car from a very young age so they associate the experience with nice things that happen in their lives – namely going for a lovely long walk in the countryside.
Dogs that are used to car journeys and in fact, love the experience are that much easier to transport anywhere and this includes taking them for a visit to a veterinary surgery – this makes life so much easier all round for you and your pet. However, once they get to the vet you might find they start to stress out which is when you need to be close to them offering them lots of reassurance.
You can buy specifically formulated spray that emit pheromones which are a synthetic form of the ones nursing mothers produce when they have young. There are collars on the market too which do the same thing and which could be worth investing in should you own a nervous dog. Wearing one of these collars will help them feel more settled when they have to travel in a car. In the spray form, these products can really help the situation with the two most popular being Adaptil or Feliway.
It's a good idea to spray your pet's blanket with the pheromone spray a couple of days before your appointment at the vet's as this will make them feel a lot more relaxed about things. Their anxiety levels will be reduced making the experience a whole lot better for all concerned.
It is never a good idea to feed either a cat or a dog before putting them in a pet carrier and then placing them in a car ready to go to the vet! It is far better not to feed them but rather to travel them on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of them vomiting or from suffering from travel sickness. However, you have to make sure they have plenty of water before travelling to keep them well hydrated. Having drunk water, it will help settle their stomachs too.
Veterinary surgeries never object if dog owners pop in to say hello from time to time because it's a great way for dogs to learn that going there can be fun. Receptionists and other staff will pet your dog and offer them a few healthy treats which gets your pet used to all the new smells and typical goings on in a surgery.
It's always a good idea to take some healthy pet treats with you because not only can they be used as a reward for good behaviour, but they also act a brilliant distraction too! If you need to get your dog's attention for any reason when they are being examined by the vet, offering them a treat could work wonders – but make sure you only take good healthy pet treats with you!
It goes without saying that your pet is going to be poked and prodded by the vet albeit gently. This means you need to get them used to having their ears, eyes and teeth checked over to avoid any stress, nips or scratches! When you groom your pet you should focus on these areas so they get used to be touched there and this in turn will help your pet accept being prodded and poked by a vet when they need to be examined.
At some point in time you may have to take your pet, whether it's a cat or a dog to see a vet. When it comes to cats, it tends to be a lot more stressful for them than a dog. However, if you are patient and introduce your cat to a pet carrier by offering them some food in it from time to time and using a pheromone product which can help reduce any stress levels, you may find that things get a bit easier. With dogs it tend to be a simpler task and this is particularly true if they like going for rides in the car. However, if there are nervous when you get them to the surgery, you should think about taking them there from time to time just to say "hello. Like this, your dog will not be quite as nervous when you take them there for any treatment or to have their vaccinations. The key to reducing stress levels is to prepare things well and to always stay nice and calm around your pet!