It is not surprising that some pets get stressed by visiting the vet. If we are not careful the car ride, waiting room and consulting room experiences can all create fear and anxiety in dogs and cats.

But we can do a lot to make the visit a positive one.

Here are Cannington Vet’s top 10 tips for making your visits to the vet a good experience for you and your pet.

1. Train your pet to enjoy being in a travel crate and/or travelling in the car. If they are stressed during the drive it will only make them more anxious when they arrive at the hospital.

2. Withhold your pet’s previous meal to make them hungry and bring along their favourite treats. These can be offered by the owner and reception staff on your arrival. (Obviously if your pet has gastro-intestinal illness or is fasting in preparation for an anaesthetic food treats should not be given)

3. For everyone’s safety and comfort all dogs should be on leads and all cats in a carry basket while in the hospital.

4. If your pet is anxious being around other pets in the reception area please ask to wait in our alternative quiet waiting area.

5. Try to remain relaxed and calm yourself. Pets will feed off their owner’s mood as well. Try to avoid rewarding anxious behaviour with too much attention but reward calm behaviour with food treats and praise.

6. It is helpful if the cat’s carry cage is easily opened to allow access. Modern carriers often can be easily dismantled for this purpose.

7. It is often helpful to allow the pet to settle in the consulting room while the vet records the history before examination. If appropriate, during this time treats can be given for relaxed behaviour.

8. Some pets are actually less stressed and more cooperative away from their owners. If the vet recommends taking your pet to the treatment area for a nurse to assist it is usually the best option.

9. For dogs that may be aggressive or bite it is useful to own a basket muzzle that your dog can be positively trained to accept and can be placed on your dog before coming in to the vet hospital. We have these available for sale. Please ask at reception.

10. It can be useful to bring your pet to the vet just for social visits to reinforce the positive experience without the need for examination or treatment.

As always, if you have a nervous and excitable pet or if you have any questions about your pet’s behaviour, please ask us.

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