How to Make Vet Visits a More Pleasant Experience for Your Pet

cat in crate

Does your normally docile, friendly pet turn into the Tasmanian Devil the moment you pull into the veterinarian's parking lot? It's not unusual for pets to feel a little stressed by a visit to the vet. When your dog or cat is anxious or behaves aggressively, a simple checkup can become a difficult experience for both of you. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your pets handle the visits a little better.

Don't Hide the Carrier or Crate

If your pet's carrier or crate only comes out when it's time to visit the vet, he or she may develop a negative association with it. As soon as the carrier makes an appearance, your pet might just decide to curl up under your bed or find another hiding place.

The next time you schedule an appointment for your pet, immediately dust off the crate or carrier and place it in the family room or kitchen with the door open. Add a new toy or tempting treat to convince your dog or cat that the crate or carrier isn't such a bad place to spend a little time. The more time your pet spends in the carrier, the less scary it may become.

Go for a Drive

Pets may also associate your car or truck with veterinary visits if they only ride in your vehicle when they have an appointment. As soon as your dog or cat enters your vehicle, he or she may become fearful or anxious. When pets are already stressed before they even leave your driveway, just walking through the doors of the veterinary clinic can be overwhelming.

You can help your dog or cat relax during car rides by taking him or her for short rides. The first time you go for a drive, you may only want to travel around the block. Gradually increasing the duration of these trips offers a simple way to help your pet adjust to riding in a car or truck. During one of your car rides, you might want to stop by the vet's office for a social call. When your pet realizes that a trip to the vet can be an enjoyable experience, he or she might not be quite so reluctant to get out of the car the next time you visit.

Make Sure Your Dog Knows Basic Commands

Sit, sit and stay, down, come, leave it and other basic commands can help you remain in control of your dog during a visit to the veterinarian. If your pet doesn't know or respond to commands, set aside a little time every night to help him or her master these helpful commands, or enroll your dog in an obedience training course.

Pretend You're a Veterinarian

Performing your own examinations on your pet allows you to identify any strange lumps or bumps and also helps your dog or cat adjust to being handled. Mimic the actions you've seen your pet's veterinarian perform, such as feeling the abdomen and paws and examining the ears and teeth so your pet becomes more accustomed to being touched all over their body.

Try Pheromones

Pheromones, natural chemicals produced by the body, can calm your cat or dog and make him or her feel less anxious or fearful. Pheromone diffusers available in pet stores or online send a steady stream of the chemical into the air. For best results, plug in the diffuser an hour or two before your pet's veterinarian visit. Although pheromones aren't effective for every pet, they're worth a try if veterinary visits are difficult for your furry friend.

Make the Waiting Room Experience More Pleasant

When you enter the waiting room, sit as far away from other pets as possible. If your pet reacts very negatively to the presence of other animals, ask if you can wait in your car until the staff is ready to see your pet. A simple call or text can alert you when the staff can see your dog or cat. If that's not possible, place a towel from home over your cat or small dog's crate or carrier to decrease exposure to troubling sights or smells

Make sure you use a leash and a collar or harness when bringing larger dogs to the vet. In the event that another animal becomes aggressive toward your pet, you'll want to be able to quickly pull him or her back from potential trouble.

Decreasing your pet's stress level will make veterinary visits a much more pleasant experience and help ensure that he or she receives needed care and screenings. If it's time for your pet's checkup, or you're concerned about a health issue, give us a call.

Sources:

Animal Planet: 5 Tips to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful for Your Cat

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/less-stressful-vet-visits/

Veterinary Practice News: Dogs and Going to the Vet, 12/28/15

https://veterinarypracticenews.com/dogs-and-going-to-the-vet/

Cesar’s Way: Did Somebody Say ‘V-E-T’?

https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/choosing-working-with-a-vet/did-somebody-say-vet

Contact Us Today!

Contact us using the form or call us at 804-741-3200.

Monday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Tuesday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Wednesday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Thursday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Friday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Saturday:

8:00am

12:00pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Dr. Evans was so patient and kind with our kitty "Cookie". Very caring and so helpful and answered many questions for me concerning her health. The office staff are kind, caring, and professional. The office is immaculate. I have never been to a vet where my pets and myself were treated so well. Love it and so glad to have found them. Best vet appointment ever!"
    Dorothy M.
  • "We have used the Q for over 15 years for our cats and our dogs. Dr. Mortimer is a genius at diagnosing and treating a wide array of issues, and we have relied on his skills to help our animals live to amazing ages. The staff is incredibly caring. They do everything possible to help when we call or come in with a sick animal. They truly care for our pets, and many of the staff will come out from the back to pet our dogs
    when they come in. They are so patient with shy animals like our ferally cat Stasha who needed laser treatments, and our Bagle Topsy who is afraid of her own shadow.Yes, they are not the cheapest vet in town, but they work with us on making a treatment plan we can afford, and we feel that the value and the care are well worth it. Thank you to everyone at the Q for their dedication and loving care."
    Sally M. / December 21, 2017
  • "Met with Dr. Hiser today for the first time. Everyone at the
    clinic--from the desk staff to the vet techs to the veterinarian were warm and welcoming. My dog Iris--who is often nervous around new people--was comfortable there and (I think) made a few new friends. Looking forward to a continued relationship with the clinic as my sweet girl grows up. Thanks, thanks thanks."
    Stephanie C. / June 27, 2018
  • "My three chihuahuas have been Dr. Mortimer's patients for over nine years. The expertise, love, and care demonstrated for each pet is extraordinary. The doctors and staff go the extra mile to help their patients and the parents. They are truly an amazing group that love and care for each pet. If there was a review rated outstanding, that would have been my choice!"
    Donna C. / June 10, 2018
  • "I would highly recommended QVH. All of the staff are so kind and compassionate. They are so willing to help and never mind answering any questions you may have, even if it's 100 questions they are so patient. They genuinely care and treat your pets as if they were their own. And I cannot say enough about Dr. Hiser. She is amazing. Even on her days off she would still call and check in on my dog. I am so appreciative of this place and the staff. It's a great feeling to be completely comfortable with putting your pets care in someone's else hands and trusting them to provide the best service."
    Taylor H. / August 25, 2018
  • "I have been seeing Dr. Evans for at least 20 years. Her manner, knowledge, staff and facility are exceptional. I am a health care provider myself and hold the care of my pets to the highest standards....and I have never had a second thought about the care or recommendations of Dr. Evans. I moved out of town 6 years ago....and drive 3 hours each way to see her."
    Kimberley W. / April 2, 2018
  • "Wouldn't trust my four-legged Kids to anyone else - they have guided us with all our dogs through the years. The entire staff is kind and patient with the animals (and their parents)."
    Karen K. / November 7, 2017

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Fish

    If you’re thinking of getting a pet fish, you should know that your veterinarian has a lot of good advice about pet ownership. Fish can be very rewarding as pets, and you just may be surprised about how much fish actually interact with their owners. Here’s more valuable information about choosing ...

    Read More
  • Caring for Senior Cats

    Thanks to advancements in veterinary care, today’s cats can live well into their teen years. It is not uncommon for cats to live to be 18 or even older. However, in order for cats to live a long full life, they need proactive veterinary care to stay healthy. As cats age, they are at greater risk for ...

    Read More
  • Feline Stomatitis: Treatments

    Cats rarely display their pain, but cats with feline stomatitis are often the exception. If your cat appears to have mouth pain, is reluctant to eat, doesn't want to groom, is drooling, and doesn't want you to open its mouth, it may be suffering from this debilitating, degenerative oral condition, and ...

    Read More
  • Feline Leukemia Virus: What You Need to Know

    Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a virus that weakens your cat's immune system. Unfortunately, when the immune system does not function properly, your cat may be more likely to develop other diseases, such as cancer and blood disorders. How Cats Contract Feline Leukemia Cats get feline leukemia from other cats. ...

    Read More
  • Family Cats and Pregnant Women: Take Measures to Prevent Toxoplasmosis Infection

    Nothing must spoil the joys of becoming a new parent. Not even your pets. But family cats with normal, every day habits can pose a risk to expectant women. Women's immune systems can be disturbed by a parasite carried in fecal matter. If you're the primary caretaker of your family's feline friend it ...

    Read More
  • Create an Environment Your Cat Will Love

    The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery confirms that feline emotional wellbeing, behavior and physical health are a result of how comfortable they are in their environment. Understanding how our cats interact with their environment can help us create a space for owners and cats to mutually thrive ...

    Read More
  • Catnip: Why Cats Love It

    Few things stimulate a cat's pleasure faster than catnip. Exposure to this simple herb can reveal a new side to their feline personality. Many cats will go crazy at the smell of this plant. Catnip has a reputation of being a feline drug and many cat owners wonder if it is safe to give it to their pet. ...

    Read More
  • Zoonosis

    Zoonosis refers to diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals. In particular, they occur when an infected animal passes on bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses to humans through scratches, saliva, feces and urine. Vectors (e.g., organisms like fleas and ticks) can also carry zoonotic diseases ...

    Read More
  • Sugar Gliders

    Thinking of getting a sugar glider? These tiny marsupials are energetic and friendly, making them popular choices as pets. Though they weigh less than a half-pound, they're more closely related to kangaroos than they are flying squirrels. If you think a sugar glider would make an ideal pet for your family, ...

    Read More
  • Epilepsy

    Epilepsy (often referred to as a seizure disorder) is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is commonly controlled with medication, although surgical methods are used as well. Epileptic seizures are classified both by their patterns of activity in the brain ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles