Reduce Stress on a Vet Visit – It Starts at Home
Based on a study done by Bayer Veterinary Healthcare, 26% of dog owners and 38% of cat owners get stressed out just thinking about taking their pet to the veterinarian. 37% of dog owner and 58% of cat owners say their pet hates going to the vet. We want to help you decrease this percentage. Below are some tips that you, the parents, can do at home to help decrease stress for your pet and still give them the care they need to stay happy and healthy for many years.
- Kitten classes
- Fear-free visits – Bring your kitten or cat by the hospital just to get a treat or say hello. This allows them to get used to the hospital and associate the experience with fun things. And is it FREE!
- Get your cat used to handling. From the time they are a kitten, play with their feet, ears and mouth. Always give them a treat after they allow you to do this so they associate handling with a positive reward.
- Get your cat used to the carrier – Leave the carrier out at your house all the time. If that is not possible, leave it out for several days in advance of the visit. Put a comfy bed in the carrier that the cat likes to sleep on. Use Feliway™ spray in the carrier on the bedding. Place treats or food inside the carrier to help them associate it with rewards.
- Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket sprayed with Feliway™. You can use a Feliway™ wipe on the inside of the carrier as well if you do not have a bottle of spray. We have single wipes.
- Minimize movement of the carrier (no tipping, dropping, swinging, etc). You can seatbelt the carrier into your car to prevent movement.
- Get your cat used to riding in the car. Most times, the vet’s office is the only place a cat goes in the car. Put them in a carrier and take them for a ride, give them a treat and then go back home.
- Watch your emotions. If you are stressed, your pet will pick up on your stress. Take 3 deep breaths and try to remain calm.
- Bring your cat to the appointment hungry. Do not feed them after dinner the night before.
- Properly play with your cat: use toys, not your fingers.
- Keep your cat away from other animals. Even if you think they like saying hello to other cats and dogs, they do not and it increases their anxiety prior to the visit.
- Make sure they are in a quiet environment – No loud music on the way to the vet. Go in the cat only entrance and straight into a cat only room to prevent them from hearing all the noises in the clinic.
- Using a sedative is ok if it is needed before the pet leaves home (some pets need a little more help to decrease their stress level and anxiety). Our goal is a stress-free visit.
Our goal is to make you and your pet’s visit less stressful! Everyone wins if the owner feels less anxious about bringing their pet to the veterinarian, the pet feels less stress and we are able to give your pet the best health care they deserve to allow them to live a happy and healthy life.