Fear of the vet is one of the most common phobias in dogs and cats. Your pet’s anxious, terrified, or aggressive actions when visiting the vet may make you reluctant to repeat the experience. However, routine vet visits are important to keep your pet in good health. Therefore, the best response isn’t to skip checkups—it’s to reduce fear and anxiety in your pet so vet visits are more pleasant.
Why Some Pets Hate the Vet
The entire vet-visiting experience can be traumatic for your pet, from being trapped in a confining carrier to surviving a bumpy car ride to meeting strange people and animals in the vet’s office. Then, the checkup begins, which may involve unfamiliar handling, anal thermometers, and needles for vaccines and blood tests, all while being surrounded by strangers. If you’re visiting the vet to address an illness, all of this occurs when your pet isn’t feeling well. Under these circumstances, it’s no wonder your pet hates the vet!
How to Make Vet Visits More Bearable
It may not be possible to get your pet excited about visiting the vet’s office, but you can make these trips less traumatic with these tips:
- Keep the carrier in sight: If your pet grows accustomed to seeing, smelling, and even sleeping in her carrier, it becomes a non-event to climb in for a vet visit.
- Take your pet on regular car rides: Teach your dog that the car doesn’t always lead to the vet’s office. It can also take her to the pet store to pick out a new toy or the dog park where she can run and play.
- Make social visits: Take your dog to the vet on occasion just to let her sniff around, say hi to the receptionist, and enjoy some friendly petting.
- Let your dog get comfortable: Rather than carrying or dragging your dog through the vet clinic’s front doors, let her decide when she’s ready to go in. The best time to practice this is during social visits.
- Conduct “exams” at home: Vet visits can be uncomfortable because your pet isn’t familiar with that kind of handling. Get her used to it by restraining her at home to check her ears, look at her teeth, and examine her paws. Be gentle and provide lots of praise and treats.
- Skip the waiting room: After you check in, wait outside where your pet can explore a more familiar environment. If your dog is more comfortable in the car, call when you arrive at the vet and ask for a call back when it’s your pet’s turn.
- Consider anxiety medication: When all else fails, ask your veterinarian for an anti-anxiety prescription you can give your pet before each vet visit.
Germantown Vet Can Accommodate Your Fearful Pet
At Germantown Vet Clinic, we want your pet to feel as comfortable in our office as possible. It helps that our staff of friendly, experienced pet lovers use gentle examination techniques and provide plenty of praise. Still, if your pet is particularly fearful, let us know. We welcome social visits, allow you to skip the waiting room, and accommodate other reasonable requests to help your pet overcome the fear of the vet.
When it’s time for your pet’s next checkup, contact Germantown Vet at 240-252-7467 to set an appointment.