How to Help When Your Pet Gets Anxious Before Vet Visits

Written by Grantsburg Animal Hospital Admin on . Posted in Blog

You’re pressed for time already getting your dog or cat prepared for a visit to Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic. However, she is feeling stressed and doesn’t care about your schedule. Before you can reach for the cat carrier or dog leash, she’s under the bed and won’t come out. You panic as you wonder if you should reschedule or keep trying to pull an anxious pet behaving entirely out of character out from under the bed. 
Does this scene sound familiar? If so, you’re far from alone. Many pet owners avoid the vet entirely because of it, even when their pet needs urgent care. Your dog or cat intuitively senses something different is about to take place and wants no part of it. While frustrating, you can do several things to help your pet feel more comfortable about coming to see us.
How to Reduce Veterinary Anxiety for Dogs
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.
Easing Feline Stress Before Arriving at the Clinic
Cats are naturally suspicious of going for a ride in the car and tend to dislike the experience. These things can help:
  • 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.
Don’t Let Your Pet Pick Up on Your Anxiety
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.
Photo Credit: Image Source / Getty Images