Let's work together to take the fear out of going to the vet!
Some of you may have noticed some changes here at Mason Animal Hospital in the last several months. There are more treats and snuggly blankets. There's less noise and fewer walks to the treatment area.
Many animals feel very frightened at the vet. Who can blame them? It's loud and there are many strange smells. Then a stranger takes them away from their human to even more noise and bright light and sharp things!
We're working to make the vet a less scary place. High value rewards can distract a pet from other stimuli that may be unnerving. Taking fewer trips back and forth between the treatment and exam rooms can slow down the accumulation of stress. Giving cats a place to hide, like in their carrier under a towel, can keep them from feeling vulnerable and acting aggressive out of fear.
So where do you, as a caretaker, come in?
For dogs, go a little light on the meal before your dogs appointment. If she's hungry, she's more likely to enjoy our treats. Speaking of treats, if Murphy loves carrots, bring some with him! We have biscuits and peanut butter, but that's not the sweet spot for some puppers. Likewise, if your dog has special diet needs, please bring some high value treats for her.
For cats, try leaving the carrier out in a room frequented by your cat for at least a few days prior to your appoinment. That way she'll be less frightened when she is being confined within. Your cat may benefit from the use of a calming spray called Feliway, which is available here at the hospital or on our online pharmacy. Finally, cover your cat's carrier for the duration of the trip. Contrary to popular belief, cats do not like to look at the scenery and, in fact, being able to see when in a moving car makes it more frightening.
For all patients, if a stool sample will be needed for her appointment, such as an annual wellness exam or a pet with diarrhea, please bring a sample collected within a few hours of the appointment time. Doing so eliminates the need for us to put something in Fluffy's rear end!
Finally, if your pet is just inconsolable, you may want to discuss the use of an anti-anxiety or sedative medication for her visit. Some pet owners are reluctant to use this method to calm their pet. But why? If I am afraid to fly or go to the dentist, I might ask my doctor for something to calm my nerves. If given the option, most of us would choose to be a little sleepy over being terrified. We feel the same logic can benefit our furry family members when appropriate.
Have a great weekend, all! Be safe and keep those fluffy friends hydrated!