Tuesday, Oct. 1st 2019

Preparing Your Pet for a Visit to the Vet

Preparations are Key!

Many of you may have seen books written for children to help prepare them for a visit to a dentist, doctor, or hospital.  Teaching children what to expect helps make them more comfortable with new settings and experiences.  The same principle applies to our pets.  No, you can’t read them a book to help them be relaxed about coming to see us. Well, you could, but it won’t work. This article will offer you some practical tips to make such visits happier for everyone involved.  Yes, even the vet!

The Carrier

Whether you put your pet in a carrier, a harness clipped to the seat belt, a crate in the car, or even let them ride free (although this isn’t the safest option, but that’s another newsletter…), your pet will be happier about it if they have positive associations with your chosen restraint.  If they will wear a harness, offer them treats and praise every time you put it on, and let them wear it while you play with them or pet them.  They should not experience this the first time when you load them in a car to come see the vet. If they will be in a carrier or crate, place this container in a location in your home where they will be part of the action.  Put treats in it and let them discover these treats for themselves.  Feed them in it.  You may even want to use Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats) pheromone sprays inside it.  Provide a comfortable bed or towel inside.   Allow them to sleep in it, or keep a toy or two inside.  Make it part of their daily life.  Ideally, they will willingly enter and spend time in it without your encouragement.  If you catch them inside of their own volition, offer them a treat and praise.

The Ride

Car rides can be stressful, especially if your pet gets car sick.  Once they are comfortable with their restraint method, use it to take them for very short rides.  Pheromones can again be used in the car.  If the radio is on, play soft or soothing music that won’t hurt their ears.  Do not smoke in the car while the pet is along.  Make sure the car is at a comfortable temperature. Secure them and take them for a ride around the block, or even just to a neighbor’s house and back. Offering treats while in the car is helpful as well.   With each ride (which should be several times a week while training), go a little farther.   After several short rides, a dog could be taken somewhere they will enjoy.  Perhaps a neighbor for play time, the dog park, to a new place for a walk, or to Sonic for a PupCup.  The goal is to get your pet looking forward to going places in the car.  If your pet gets nauseous, contact us about how to overcome this to make the ride more pleasant for all.

The Vet

Once your pet is comfortable in the car, riding happily without vocalizing, panting, or otherwise looking distressed, it’s time for a Happy Visit to the vet.  Treat it just like all the practice rides, because it is! Call our office first to let us know you want a Happy Visit, to make sure we aren’t too busy and won’t have any pets in the waiting room that might disturb your pet.  Then come on in!  This visit is NOT to perform any procedures on your pet, so don’t ask for “a nail trim while we’re here”.  We don’t charge for you to bring your pet in for this, and be sure we give it some attention and petting and a treat.  If they aren’t in a carrier, we might have them step up on the scale if it doesn’t frighten them, where they can get some more treats.  If your pet has shown anxiety at a vet before, we encourage you to make these visits several times a month.  The idea is that we want your pet to understand not every visit to the vet will involve restraint or painful procedures.  Once they are comfortable just coming to visit, we encourage you to schedule your pet for a chiropractic-only visit.  Again, no nail trims or shots.  Chiropractic feels good to most pets, and they learn to associate our gentle handling during the exam and reduction of pain with coming to our office.  If you’re just out for a ride and in the area, go ahead and stop in, but just check inside first to be sure nothing will make your pet unhappy while you’re here. 

We hope these tips will lead to a lifetime of stress-free vet visits.  If you have other behavior concerns, we encourage you to bring them up at your pet’s next check-up.



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18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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