Getting Ready for a Vet Visit
Hi I’m Dr. Mary Stauder at Manchester West Veterinary Hospital.
I wanted to talk today about acclimating your pet to coming to see us, and to help us out.
We’ve got Chachi, Achilles, and Michele. These are Michele’s dogs and kind of showing examples of how this works.
Obviously, this big guy here, he has been coming in to see us and he’s got the whole idea down that we really aren’t that bad.
I know we do a lot of rude procedures like take temperatures and things, but we actually like dogs and cats.
So, one of the first things I always recommend to people is start with a very positive attitude. You know, just be calm, try to just relax and get into it, lots of positive praise.
So we talk to our dogs nicely. Now some of our dogs just need an occasional pat or a pet while we’re sitting there, that’s fine, but we don’t want to go overboard with the soothing talk and it sounds kind of counterproductive.
But, if we hold them real tight and say “It’s ok, its ok” the dog is going to get more worried. We’re better off saying “That’s a good dog, that’s a good boy” and you can even bring along some distractions. Whether it’s a treat or a toy, the dogs respond very well. It can definitely help with the positive reinforcement.
Of course, now he’s not eating it, he’s perfectly happy with just being petted.
Now if he will stay there for just a second. We’ll show Achilles.
When Michele started bringing Achilles in here he was extremely nervous and was always hiding. Now she brings him in regularly and it has helped. So now, he’ll even come up to me and take the treats and let me pet him and talk to him. We try to get down, we get low, and just try to be a little gentle with them, slow with them. Show them that it’s ok. You have to stay up here.
I know I’m giving treats but you have to stay put.
So, other things that can help out is arriving early for your appointment and gives time for the dog and you to calm down, get checked in at the front desk. And then if they still need a little nervous energy release, take them for a walk out front. You’re supposed to always check to make sure we don’t need a urine sample first. A nice walk outside and again, a lot of positive reinforcement.
Exercise is also a good point too for some of these high energy dogs. Running them around outside before the visit can really burn off some of their nervous energy. So by the time they get here they are relaxed and ready for us.
The little dogs will do well in a carrier. Little dogs and cats travel well in a carrier, it will help make them feel more secure in the car, they’re not so scared. To help them adapt to the carrier, get the carrier out early, a week in advance, even, of your appointment. Leave it out, put some food in there, put treats in there, put toys in there. Let them just get accustomed to it, it’s not a scary thing either. So, carriers are very handy.
Practice handling your pet at home.
It’s a simple exercise, kind of get in the habit of looking in their ears, maybe just touching their face. Yeah, I’m holding their head so that I can see directly into his eyes. Which are just gorgeous, aren’t they?
You know, look at his teeth, look in the ears, play with his paws. It kind of gets them used to all the procedures we will be doing during the physical exam. Just a few minutes a day over the course of some time, can really acclimate them to everything we’re going to be doing.
And then the last thing is mock visits or pretend visits.
Bring them in sometime just to hangout. Come sit. Come get some treats. Let us fuss over them. Give them praise. Tell them what a good boy he is. Just come sit in the waiting room, weigh them on the scale, get them used to.
Even cats sometimes, you know, bring in the carrier, sit over in the cat area, and hearing the noises, the sounds, the smells can help make them much more comfortable.
And of course, you see, he brought his special blanket to lay on and that always helps.
So hopefully these tips will help ease the nervousness of an office visit.
It’s too important that we get to see these pets and maintain their health, but we don’t want to stress them out too much by coming in.
Again, my name is Dr. Mary Stauder at Manchester West Veterinary Hospital.