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How to Reduce Your Pet’s Anxiety During a Veterinary Visit

By February 7, 2019Pet Care
How to Reduce Your Pet's Anxiety During a Veterinary Visit

Taking your pet to the vet is vital to your pet’s wellbeing, but do you dread veterinary visiting day? Is your little chihuahua trembling all over at the realization that he’s going to the vet. Or, is your large Maine Coon cat crying pitifully in her carrier. It’s common for many dogs and cats to fear going to the vet. Think about when you go to see your doctor – you’re a little nervous but you’re able to summon up some common sense and stay relatively calm. It’s different with pets – a car ride by itself can be stressful. Then they are taken into a building where their sensitive noses pick up many unfamiliar scents from other pets and people. Plus they get poked and prodded in private places by strange pairs of hands. It’s overwhelming and frightening. Here are some common signs of scared pets.

Signs of Dog Anxiety

  • Dragging on the leash
  • Sitting down and refusing to move
  • Trying to escape or hide
  • Trembling
  • Tail tucked in and not wagging
  • Excessive barking
  • Self-licking and biting
  • Diarrhea
  • Aggression

Signs of Cat Anxiety

  • Trying to escape or hide
  • Open-mouthed, heavy breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Laid back ears
  • Crying or excessive vocalization
  • Excessive grooming or scratching
  • Diarrhea
  • Aggression

Helping Your Pet to Overcome Anxiety

Although it’s not easy, it is possible to ease your pet’s anxiety over a veterinary visit. Here are a few tips.

  • If you can, take your pet to the vet’s office just to say hello, meet the receptionists and the vet and get treats.
  • Does your cat bolt and hide under the bed at the mere sight of the cat carrier? Two or three days before your pet’s veterinary visit, place the crate or carrier where your pet hangs out a lot. Leave the door ajar and invite entry with some treats and toys.
  • Make your vet appointment during a less busy, quieter time when the waiting room is likely to be comparatively empty.

Natural Anxiety and Stress Remedies

For some pets, a little “something extra” will help them relax. If your cat is uptight after being dropped into her carrier and then gated, cover the carrier with a towel sprayed with Feliway. Feliway emits a comforting pheromone that helps to reduce stress levels in cats. For dogs, there is a similar spray called Adaptil. Other natural products include homeopathic remedies and a Thundershirt, which gives a dog the supportive feeling of being held.

Severe Anxiety and Stress Medications

If your pet is absolutely petrified and nothing you have done has helped, talk to your vet. There are anxiety medications that can be prescribed, such as Gabapentin or Clomicalm.

Owner Anxiety

Your pet will pick up on your mood, so it won’t help your pet relax if you are stressed out and anxious at the thought of a veterinary visit. Conversely, if your pet senses that you’re calm and collected, it may help calm their nerves. However, if you’re stressed out because your pet is involved in some type of emergency situation, take them to a vet immediately. If you reside in or around Columbia South Carolina, CVETS is a state-of-the-art emergency and trauma center. Bring your pet to us for the best possible emergency care.