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  • Writer's pictureCuyamaca Animal Hospital

How to Minimize Stress When Taking Your Pet to The Veterinarian

It can be stressful to take your anxious or fearful pet to see the veterinarian. It's one of the most common calls we get, and you are not alone! Because of this, we wanted to compile a list for you to help you minimize stress in your pet when taking him to the veterinarian.

Find a vet who follows Fear-Free protocols

We practice Fear-Free methods to help reduce stress. Some of the things we do:

  • We release Adaptil pheromones into the air to reduce stress in our canines and Feliway pheromones to help reduce stress in our felines.

  • We play therapeutic iCalm Pet music, which is specifically designed and tuned to the pets ear to instill relaxation.

  • Puzzle toys are used to keep pets happy and entertained. After all, mental stimulation is great for your pet's health.

  • We COMPLETELY separate our dogs and cats (separate wings and entrances).

  • We use Rescue cleaner, which absorbs and deteriorates any odor and pheromones leaving your pet feeling safe from unwanted signs of previous pets.

  • We utilize Fear-Free handling techniques when dealing directly with the pets. This means using only positive reinforcement, such as using treats, petting/scratching, a favorite toy, speaking in calm tones, and moving and approaching pets in non-threatening ways.

  • When you are placed in an exam room, we purposefully give you and your pet a few minutes to adjust and spend some calm time together. Use that time to let your pet explore and be loved on.

Get them used to their carrier ahead of time

If your pet is not a fan of their carrier, now is the time to bring it out in the open. Try placing treats in their carrier, and reward your pet if/when they go inside. In the beginning, it's best to not close the carrier door as they get used to the space. When you bring your pet in for his appointment, keep him in the carrier in his safe space.

Consider coming to the office in the days before your appointment

Bringing your pet into the veterinary office when you don't have an appointment can be helpful in so many ways. Just let us know if you think this would help your pet, so we can be prepared with lots of treats and love so your pet can associate the vet with positive events.

Try medication

Feel free to call us or ask us if pre-visit sedation or supplements can help take the edge off and keep your pet happy while visiting us.

Exercise/stimulate prior to the appointment

A lot of times anxiety can stem from a lack of mental or physical stimulation. Exercising prior to the appointment can be an easy way to burn off that excess anxious energy.

Get the environment right in the car

Play calming music, apply calming pheromones (lavender scents or Adaptil/Feliway), make sure the temperature is comfortable before playing him in the car, drive slowly without last minute stops, leave early enough that you don't feel rushed or stressed yourself

Notify the team when you arrive

That way, your pet doesn't have to spend a lot of time in the waiting area. When your exam room is ready, the team can help you to come in with your pet.

Bring your pet hungry!

We'll be giving your pets treats during the visit to help him/her associate a trip to the veterinarian with good and happy things.

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