Does your pet completely freak out when you bring them to the veterinary hospital or groomer? Sadly, for many of our four-legged friend’s veterinary care is associated with extreme anxiety and fear. When we look at it from their perspective, the vet hospital is not home, it smells funny, there are other dogs and cats there, people they don’t know are walking around, they had to go into the dreaded cat carrier to travel to the appointment, etc. Then sometimes they get a needle, and someone cuts their toe-nails. You should be thankful they ever want to snuggle you again! It does not have to be like that, and it shouldn’t be a negative fear-inducing experience.
For a long time, this was just a necessary requisite of having your pet seen by your local veterinarian. Today, we are much more in tune with how veterinary visits induce fear in our pets. How your pet’s emotional wellbeing promotes their overall well being. Fear Free Visits, “take the pet out of petrified” and “put the treat into treatment!” If your pooch suffers anxiety relating to vet visits, try the following;
- Bring them in a bit hungry, so we can offer them lots of treats and make the visit delicious.
- Bring their favourite treats from home, because those are what is familiar.
- Do a drive-in, no exam needed, just a quick drop in say “hi” and have a few cookies: no pain with a lot of gain.
- Avoid sitting in the lobby if you must wait. Nothing is more anxiety provoking than sitting there listening to and smelling all the noises and smells of the vet hospital.
For most dogs, this will suffice. If your dog is fearful above that, speak to the doctor and staff about other options such as compression garments, anti-anxiety medications, house calls, and more.
Remember, a visit to the vet should not be something that is fear-provoking or obnoxious. Your pet deserves better than that.
Written by: Dr. Kip Grasse
References: Fear Free