Soothing Your Pet’s Fear of the Veterinarian

by on 08/06/12 at 7:29 am

by Christa O’Conner

There aren’t many pets that generally enjoy trips to the veterinary clinic. Barking dogs, crying cats, strange people in lab coats who smell funny can all be strange sensations for your pet. This is especially true of exam rooms where they get hoisted onto a cold, slippery metal table and often get poked a prodded, blood taken, shots, and even have their temperature taken through their rectum. This can be a traumatic experience for pets and can lead to struggling, shaking, and sometimes even aggressiveness. There is a way to prepare your pet for successful trips to the veterinarian, since yearly checkups and the occasional sick visit are necessary evils.

Prevention is going to be easier than trying to cure a fear that has already developed. Take your kitten or puppy to the veterinary clinic early to get associated with the staff and location on a pleasant note. Most clinics allow patients to stop by to socialize without needing to get an exam. Associating the staff and the clinic with positive aspects such as pets and belly rubs will go a long way in getting your pet comfortable with the idea of visiting the veterinarian when it’s time to get exams and procedures done.

Another great method to get your pet used to being poked and prodded is to do mock exams at home a few times before your first annual exam. Lift your pet up on a table (if small enough) that has a towel on it so that they won’t slip. Give them a treat for sitting up there nicely. Check their ears, eyes, and mouth and give them a treat. Manipulate their paws and toes like you would if you had to cut their nails (don’t cut just yet, this is just practice) and give them a treat. Lift each leg and give them a treat. By repeating this process over and over again, your dog or cat will become used to the sensations and procedure of a typical annual exam which will help greatly when it comes time for the real thing.

Because pets are very in tune with humans’ emotions and demeanor, make sure you stay calm and relaxed when you go to take your pet to the vet. Tension and stress will easily be sensed by your pet so it’s important to remain calm and happy when you venture with your pet to the vet clinic.

Preventing and curing your pet’s fear of theĀ veterinary clinic will go a long way with creating a good and stable relationship between you and your pet.

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