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If you could recall your first visit to a doctor's office you would remember feeling out of place. There are unfamiliar smells and sounds. The doctor is using instruments you've never seen before. It can be intimidating and your pet can feel the same anxiety. There are some animals who like the attention. However, if you know your animal doesn't like new situations, this can be a scary experience for them.

You love your animal and want to make sure they feel safe. Here are some tips to help them feel less stress when you take them to the vet. Train them Animals that have received training know how to manage their emotions. They are calmer and more alert to directions people give them. Training an animal can be difficult at first, but it will come in handy when you visit the doctor. Your animal will be prepared because they know how to take directions. Here are some helpful skills to train your animal on:

  • Sit

  • Stay

  • Lay Down

  • Heel

These are the basic training techniques for most animals and will make a huge difference at the vet's office. As you guide them through the unfamiliar area they will feel more confident when you give them familiar commands. It may also be helpful to adapt the training to situations they will have at the office. For example, using the “sit� command and adapting it to sitting on a mat, or adapting the heel ability to have them walk beside you without a leash. It is a small gesture, but being familiar with sitting on a mat or staying next to you without a leash will help them feel less out of place. Do a Mock Examination Animals that have never had an examination before, may not take it well the first time. It is helpful to get them familiar with the experience before you take them to the vet. Here is a list of places that would be helpful to examine:

  • Paws

  • Ears

  • Eyes

  • Teeth

  • Mouth

  • Tail

Your animal will feel less anxiety with the doctor if they have received daily examinations. If you want to go even further have someone else do a mock examination on them. This will help them to know that checkups won't hurt them. Let Other People Play with Them Your pet may already feel anxious at the vet, having strangers prod and poke them won't help. You can ease this experience by exposing them to new people before they go to the vet. We know you love your pet time, but make sure they have time to get used to new faces too. When they see that other people are not a threat they will welcome the experience at the vet rather than getting anxious. Bring Their Favourite Toy or Treats Never underestimate the power of bribery. Just like when you reward your pet after learning a new skill, you need to teach them that the vet's office is a good place. Offering treats at key points in their visit will help them learn that this is a fun place rather than a place to be afraid of. Here are some great moments to offer treats:

  • Entering the office

  • Calm behavior in the waiting room

  • When they approach the vet

  • When they step on the scale

  • Good behavior during the appointment

When appropriate, your animal could enjoy receiving treats from the staff and vet as well. They are meeting a lot of new people. When they get a treat it triggers a positive relationship rather than an intimidating one. Keep in mind that you don't want to over treat your pet to the point of sickness. Use treats when you think it is best. Like a blanket is to a child a toy can be to a dog. Bringing their favorite toy will help them feel more familiar with the current surroundings. It will be a keepsake they can hold onto for security. Make sure it is an appropriate toy to bring. Find a toy that is small and easy to carry. Calming Scents At our clinic, we also carry calming, natural pheromone sprays for both dogs and cats that can be used on their collar, carrier, bedding, or car seats that would help your pets by bringing a sense of calm when they come in to the vet or for training purposes for nervous dogs and cats. There are no negative side-effects to the calming pheromone spray that would cause your pet to feel groggy or lethargic, and it will not provide any sedative effect for your pets in any way. Relax, They Can Feel Your Anxiety Your loving pet is sensitive to your feelings. If you are feeling anxious about the doctor's visit they will feel that. Help your pet feel at ease by calming yourself before you leave. Spend time before the visit to calm down with your pet. Go on a walk or play fetch to help both of you relax. By using these tips you and your pet can have a positive experience at the vet. The vet is full of professionals who want to help. Taking your animal to the vet is vital to their health. You can feel at ease knowing your pet is in good hands. Now that you know how to get your pet ready for the vet, feel free to call and schedule an appointment today at Bellamy-Lawrence! Our friendly staff will make sure you and your pet have everything you need for your first vet visit.

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