Visiting the veterinary clinic can be a stressful experience for your furry friend—and, sometimes, for you, too. The unfamiliar smells and presence of other cats and dogs can make your pet feel anxious and stressed during these visits. However, wellness exams are vital to maintaining your pet’s health. Our Veterinary Behavior Solutions team provides several strategies that you can employ to minimize your pet’s stress and ensure a smooth trip to the vet.

Create positive associations with veterinary visits

Our veterinary team focuses on creating a strong relationship and open dialogue with you. We specialize in handling anxious pets and can offer stress-reduction techniques so you can make your pet’s vet visit enjoyable. By familiarizing your pet with their primary veterinarian’s team and their clinic’s sights and smells, you can help ease your furry pal’s anxiety. Schedule a meet-and-greet before a regular veterinary appointment, ensuring you bring your pet’s treats and toys. By scheduling a low-stress visit, you can help your pet make a positive association with visiting their veterinarian’s office. 

Practice gentle handling techniques with your pet

To get your pet to tolerate being handled and examined during an exam, gently touch their ears, paws, and mouth at home. Simulate the handling that occurs during a veterinary exam, such as placing your hands on your pet’s torso and abdomen. Reward your furry pal with treats and praise to create positive associations with these actions. Gentle handling can help make veterinary exams less intimidating for your pet by acclimating them to being touched and handled at home. 

Make your pet’s carrier or crate a happy zone

Many pets become anxious when they see their carrier or crate because going to the vet is their only experience with them. Rather than only bringing out your pet’s carrier to take them to the vet, keep your furry pal’s crate or carrier open and give them their treats inside. Consider placing a blanket, toys, and other comforting items inside their carrier, making the space a less intimidating place to be. Transport your pet to their veterinary visits inside the crate or carrier for safety and protection. 

Consider using pet calming aids

Calming aids, such as pheromone sprays or diffusers, calming collars, or medications prescribed by our Veterinary Behavior Solutions veterinarian, can help calm your nervous pet. These calming aids are formulated to reduce your four-legged friend’s anxiety during vet visits or other stressful events, making the experience less scary for them.

Stay calm and provide comfort to your pet

Pets are highly attuned to their owners’ emotions, so you must remain calm and reassuring during your furry pal’s veterinary exams. Speak to your pet soothingly, offer gentle strokes or cuddles, and provide treats as positive reinforcement for good behavior. Your presence and reassurance can go a long way in comforting your four-legged friend.

Schedule your pet’s veterinary appointment strategically

If your cat or dog is reactive to loud noises and other pets, discuss these concerns with their primary veterinary team when scheduling an appointment. Your veterinary clinic may be able to schedule your pet’s appointment during quieter times when the waiting room is less crowded. Likewise, a team member may be able to place your pet into an exam room when you arrive so your furry pal doesn’t have to stay in the busy waiting area. Taking steps to minimize your four-legged friend’s exposure to other pets helps reduce their stress and can go a long way to make future appointments go smoothly. 

Exercise your pet before their veterinary appointment

A tired pet is a relaxed pet! Ensure your pet burns excess energy before their vet visit by taking them for a walk or playing with them using interactive toys such as a laser pointer. Exercise will release pent-up energy and provide a positive outlet to minimize the anxiety or stress your furry pal may feel. 

Be patient and persistent to help create a stress-free veterinary visit

Your pet will eventually learn that visiting the veterinary clinic is routine. Many pets react to new situations and environments and need lots of patience, and rewards to understand that they need not be frightened during a vet exam. Be patient with your pet by continuing to practice positive reinforcement and gentle handling, and helping them make a positive association with their carrier to ease your furry pal’s veterinary visit stress. 

A trip to the vet doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience for you and your four-legged friend. By following our stress-free techniques, you can help your pet feel relaxed, and perhaps, one day, they will grow to love these essential wellness visits. By understanding and proactively addressing your pet’s needs, you can help them feel comfortable and relaxed during their next trip to their primary veterinarian’s clinic. Contact our compassionate Veterinary Behavior Solutions team if your pet’s vet primary vet visit stress needs to be lowered.