Make veterinarian visits easier for all involved

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From Metro Creative Services

People often get anxious about visiting the doctor, and the same can be said for pets. According to the online animal resource Top Dog Tips, a lot of dogs and cats have serious anxiety about going to the vet.

Veterinarian visits typically happen once per year, and the earlier your pet can become more comfortable and acclimated to the process, the better it will behave during each subsequent visit.

The following are some steps pet owners can take to make vet visits go smoothly.

• Handle your pet frequently. Teach your pet to accept touching of the paws, ears, mouth, tail, legs, and stomach. Regular sessions petting and touching your pet may make him or her more comfortable when the vet has to do so.

• Consider waiting outside. Research from Companion Animal Psychology says 30 percent of dogs are highly stressed while sitting in the waiting room of the vet’s office. It can be hectic in the waiting room, with lots of new smells, people coming in and out and animals with all sorts of energy. If waiting rooms put your pet on edge, wait outside.

• Associate the carrier with comfort. If you pull out the crate only when the pet will be going to the vet, the animal will soon associate it with negative experiences. Instead, use the crate frequently and rely on treats so that the dog or cat sees it as a safe and fun space to spend its time. Take frequent car rides to different destinations so pets don’t associate car rides with vet visits.

• Find the right veterinarian. Interview several vets to find an office and staff who love interacting with your pet and can make him or her comfortable.

• Stay relaxed yourself. Pets can sense their owner’s energy. If you are worked up and anxious, then your animal may feed off of those feelings. By remaining calm, you can help keep your pet calm.

• Do a fun or practice visit. Acclimate the pet to the vet’s office with a trial run. This way he or she can interact with the vet and learn the smells and sounds under less stressful conditions. This is a great way for the pet to have a positive initial experience with its new vet.

Vet visits are vital to pets’ long-term health. Setting the stage for positive experiences early on can make visits go smoothly throughout the pet’s life.

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