Feline Care

Making visits to the vet easier for cats

Lots of cats don’t like going to the vet.  We hear clients all the time say, “I’ve wanted to bring my cat in for a few months now, but it’s just so difficult and stressful!”  We’re cat owners Dieseltoo and we understand how hard it can be, so we want to make it as easy as possible for you so that we don’t end up seeing health issues that could have been prevented if we had treated sooner.  Here are some tips on how to make a trip to the vet easier for your cat:

Build good habits at an early age.  Imagine spending your entire life in one small environment and then suddenly finding yourself somewhere totally different.  That’s how it can feel for some older cats, so expose him or her to new people and places as a kitten.  

Get your cat comfortable with the carrier.  Leave it open in a place where it is always accessible and fill it with bedding and toys.  Put your cat’s food in the carrier or give treats in it.  You can even shut the door from time to time and pick it up and walk around.  These things will prevent any negative associations with the carrier.

Get your cat used to being “examined”.  Every once in a while open your cat’s mouth and look at his or her teeth.  Play with the hind legs, put him on his back, gently scruff him, and do similar things to get used to being examined.

Let us know how we can help.  We’ll always help in whatever way we can.  If trips to our hospital are particularly stressful for your cat, give us a call before your next visit. We can discuss products available that can assist in making things less stressful for your cat. We can schedule you for a time when our lobby will be quiet, or we can even come out to your car and bring your kitty in through the back entrance where there will be no other pets.

 

Canine Care

Making visits to the vet easier for dogs

Know the signs of stress: First and foremost, it’s helpful to understand the signs of stress, anxiety, and fear in your dog. Your dog is becoming stressed when you see any or some of these… yawning, panting, licking of lips or nose, ears pinned back, a low tail, avoidance or moon eye where the white arc of the eye is showing.  Doing what you can to lessen these20131020_090219 negative responses early can help to deter the possibility of a more extreme reaction such as panic or aggression. If you know what situations stress your pet, you can better limit exposure to those stimuli.

Car rides: Some pets enjoy riding in the car but many do not, especially, if the only time you ever put your dog in a vehicle is to take your dog to the vet. In fact, transporting your pet in the car only to go to the vet can cause your dog to associate the entire experience with fear and stress. It can be very helpful for your pet if you familiarize your dog with the car by taking small trips in it for other purposes. Start by putting your pet in the car and sitting there with your pet for just a few minutes. Reward your furry friend with ample praise, petting, and even a treat while you just hang out in the car. Once this is comfortable for your furry friend, start the car but don’t drive off. Again, praise your pet when he is calm. Gradually move toward short rides and then increase the length of car rides until they are equivalent to the time it takes to get to us.

Desensitization training through mock check-ups at home: Another way you can help ease the stress associated with vet appointments is to do mock check-ups at home with your dog. It can cause a lot of anxiety for some pets to be handled by a stranger poking and prodding him in an unfamiliar environment. You can run through the general kinds of handling that a veterinarian will do at your pet’s check-up at home to help your pet become more accustomed to being touched. Gently look in ears and mouth and play with your pet’s feet. Our staff can offer tips on how to perform an at-home “mock exam”. The goal with this kind of training is to perform it often enough that it becomes routine for your dog

At the clinic: Arrive at the clinic for your pet’s appointment a little early. We can’t stress enough how important not being rushed is in helping your animal to relax at the vet. If you hurry your pet out the door and into the office, your dog will become unnecessarily more anxious because of the sense of urgency. If you are asked to sit in a waiting room, keep your dog on a leash and by your side. Speak calmly to your furry friend. If your dog is in a carrier and seems overly anxious from the surroundings or other animals in the waiting room, cover the carrier with a blanket or towel to decrease exposure to the stressful things. Once you arrive in the examination room and the door is closed, let your pet explore if he chooses to. Do not restrain your furry friend unless asked to do so by one of our staff. If your pet is in a crate, open the door but do not force him to come out. Some pets prefer to remain in their crate because of the familiarity. They will come out on their own or may have to be taken out for their examination. If that is the case, we will help you to do so safely and with as little stress as possible. During the exam, speak in a calm and friendly manner. Be helpful, but do not interfere with the care your pet receives unless you are asked to do so. Your pet’s comfort and health is our highest priority and we will do what we can to make appointments efficient, low-stress, and effective.

 Keep your cool: Strangely enough, one of the best things you can do for your dog is to remain calm yourself. Pets take many of the cues from their human parents. If you are rushed, anxious or irritated, your pet will mirror your behavior.

Speak in a relaxed tone.  While in the exam room act at ease.  If you treat the visit as a routine your dog will learn to also.

Let us know how we can help:  We will always help in whatever way we can.  If trips to our hospital are stressful for your dog or your pet isn’t comfortable around other animals give us a call before your next visit.  We have several helpful solutions.  You may want to wait in the car or outside until it is time to come in.  We can schedule your pet for a quieter time of the day or bring you in through the back entrance.