Taking your pet to the surgery can be stressful for both yourself and your pet. Unfortunately, we cannot explain to our pets that the reason they have to visit the vets is to either prevent them from becoming unwell or to treat them once they become unwell. This guide will give you some ideas of how to reduce the stress factors as much as possible.
They seem to know when you are planning to take them to see the vet and have a knack for disappearing, or hiding somewhere you cannot get to them. Once you have found them you are then faced with the challenge of actually getting them in to their travel box.
If you have the time and space, it may help to leave the cat basket out for a couple of days prior to the appointment so they get used to seeing it and don’t run for the hills when they see you go to the cupboard where the dreaded cage lives. Although they may still be wary and guess that something is up, they are more likely to get used to seeing it so less stressed when you finally do need to get them in to it. Putting a familiar blanket or article of clothing in the box and leaving the door open can also make it less intimidating. Other things to try are some of the calming products available, such as:
- Pet Remedy
When getting your cat in to the basket, try to allow yourself as much time as possible. This reduces the risk of you getting anxious about being late for your appointment and rushing the situation. Cats are very good at picking up on emotional stress so try to remain as calm as possible at all times. If it looks like you may get injured or your cat is really not coping then, as long as it isn’t a necessity to take him or her to the vets, consider abandoning the attempt and reschedule for another time.
Whatever you decide to try to do to make the ‘cat into a box’ task easier, take your time, talk in a reassuring voice and retain a calm composure, externally at least.
Please note, all cats MUST be secured properly in a suitable pet carrier. Do not carry them in to the surgery or bring them in on a harness and lead. They may be okay with it but other animals in the waiting area may not be so tolerant! If your cat basket has been ‘borrowed’ or lost in the depths of your attic, we do have cages we can hire out, for a refundable deposit fee.
Dogs are usually less problematic to get to the vets unless they have a car phobia. But it doesn’t mean it is any less stressful for them to walk through the front door of the veterinary practice. Many dogs get to within a few metres of the practice and suddenly apply their brakes and you are faced with a very determined dog glued to the ground. Small dogs can be carried in to the surgery and spoken to in a calm and reassuring manner, but bigger dogs may need some other form of persuasion. If they are coming in for anything other than a procedure that requires a general anaesthetic or sedation, then you can try to offer them treats to get them in to the practice. Again, be calm and reassuring and don’t get cross with them. It is normal behaviour, as trips to the vet nearly always end up with something they feel is unpleasant, even the needle involved with giving them vaccinations to keep them in good health. If your dog refuses point blank to come in to the surgery, please advise one of the staff members and we will be able to assist you.
If you find your dog is really stressed by visits to the vet, again there are some remedies you can try, such as:
- Pet Remedy
Another option can be to visit the surgery just to say hello. You can take your dog for a walk/drive and then call in to us and see the reception team or veterinary nurses. We can then make a fuss of them and show them that not every visit ends with a needle! If you decide to try this, please pop in after 11am as prior to this the surgery can be very busy.
Alternatively, in severe cases it may be worth consulting a pet behaviourist. Naturally Pets in Bexhill are a local pet behaviour specialist who will be able to advise you further.
Please ensure that all dogs are secured on a lead or harness when coming to the veterinary practice as animals are unpredictable and we cannot control how other dogs may react to yours.
All other pets need to be brought to the surgery in a secured container, suitable for their needs. A blanket to cover the container may help to reduce the stress of being taken from their home environment. Try to include some of their own used bedding material to make it feel less foreign to them. If it is cold outside, please ensure they have enough bedding or cover to prevent them getting cold. Equally, if it is really hot out then care needs to be taken to prevent them from over-heating.
For further information on the products mentioned above, please ask one our team members who will be happy to advise you on them.
Alternatively, please see the below links: