Here are some tips to help your dog feel less reluctant about getting into the car for a veterinary visit:
- Buy a small can of pheromone spray and spray your dog’s normal spot in the car with it. You can also spray it on his crate, leash, and harness the day before the appointment and again several hours before it. Pheromone creates a calming aroma and draws your dog towards the items containing it.
- Make sure that you restrain your dog in the car so she feels more secure.
- Play calming music in the car, offer lots of praise, and keep your tone of voice calm and patient.
- Bring her carrier out two days before the appointment and place it in a spot she can easily access. Consider spraying it with pheromone also. This attracts her to it and gives her the chance to mark it with her scent and walk in and out of it. Placing a treat inside can also send the message that her carrier is nothing to fear and reduces her stress.
- Have another person on hand the day of your cat’s appointment in case you still can’t get him in the carrier willingly. Using a carrier with a removable top is easier that trying to push him in through the front opening.
- Spray pheromone in the car to help calm your cat during your drive to the clinic. As with dogs, remain calm and praise any amount of cooperation.
If you have the expectation that preparing your pet for his appointment will be stressful, he will sense your stress and possibly act out because of it. That’s why staying calm yourself is so important. We’re also happy to offer additional suggestions in person if your pet continues to struggle with anxiety.