I just dropped off my old cat to the vet for some dental work. He was denied food and water this morning and was very unhappy this morning. When I put his blanket in the carrier, which had been out in the living room for the last 5 days, he started to slink away. I picked him up and put him in the carrier but there was a small struggle. More of a struggle than I’ve experienced before with him. My cat is 16 yrs old and has gone to the vet yearly. Normally he resists but doesn’t try to climb out of my arms. I think his lack of breakfast and routine being messed up really upset him. At the vet he sulked in the carrier and got barked at by a dog. My guy hasn’t had a good morning.
I’ve been fairly lucky with my cat, overall, he’s not aggressive and doesn’t fight too much when I’ve had to pop him into his carrier. He doesn’t mind nail clippings, likes being brushed, and isn’t too afraid of the vacuum. He also doesn’t mind dogs and is curious of other cats, although, he’s getting less tolerant of other animals since his sister died and seems to want to be the only animal in my house. This morning’s trip to the vet reminded me that some pets hate going to vet and become incredibly stressed. There are some tips to help alleviate their stress and make the trip less terrifying.
3 tips to make the vet visit better
- Familiarize pets at an early age – handle you pet, touch the paws, mouth, and gums. Reinforce cooperation with affection, words, and positive training treats. Also, make the car fun for your dog. Some car rides might be the vet, some might to the park, some might be a for a trip. If your dog isn’t scared of the car, you can at least get out the door without much fuss.
- Comfort – If the pet carrier scares your pet, make it inviting. Toss in a towel, some toys, and treats. Let your dog and cat sniff it and get used to it. Leave the carrier out for a few days before the vet trip. I left it out for a week before I moved this summer and found a cat sleeping in it. When I moved and drove for 2 hours, getting the cats into the carrier was the easy part. Hearing them meow and cry for 2 hours was the hard part.
- Remain calm – pets can read our energy level and dogs can smell subtle differences in our body chemistry. If we are nervous, dogs can tell because our PH levels change. Do your best to stay calm and gently and soothingly coax your pet to walk through the doors of the vet office. Deep breaths for you.
What do you do to help your pet be stress-free when visiting the vet?
Image from Nora the Piano Cat