Going to the vet has never been easy. The classic ploy is for an owner to jingle the keys and tell his dog it’s time to go to the park. Halfway there, Fido freezes up and realizes, “Hey, this isn’t the way to the park.”
A vet visit can be an anxious affair for an animal. Even if they’re calm and friendly at home, putting pets in the strange area known as the waiting room and surrounding them with other anxious cats and dogs will probably make them start feeling and behaving oddly. All of a sudden your fun-loving friend will become a ball of stress and nervous terror. Reactions are often the same when you bring your pet to a groomer.
Follow these tips to help you ensure your pet remains relaxed during this often stressful situation.
A successful visit begins with honesty
The number one thing you should do when taking your dog to the vet or the groomer is to be honest. "If your pet might bite or is difficult to bathe, be honest and tell your groomer,” says Charlotte Reed, author of The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette. "And if your animal is scratchy, itchy or you think it might have fleas, definitely tell your groomer or vet beforehand. You don't want to infest their business with fleas!"
Cage or leash your animal
This is one of the simplest and most important rules. Cats should always be in a cage or carrier and dogs should always be on a leash. This is especially important for cats, which can be a wild card in so many situations. While some cats do great in cars and some dogs stay with you even without a leash, don’t risk it. (Also keep in mind that it’s against the law in many communities to let your dog be in public without a leash.)
Silence your phone and put it away
Your pet might need some extra attention in the waiting room, so don’t make them beg for it by burying your face in your phone. If they do get stressed and need you, chances are other animals will pick up on their distress, and it will spread. Think of this as some quality time between you and your pet, and don’t let your digital device get in the way.
Ask questions and listen
In many cases, you may know what’s best for your pet. But you probably don’t have the specific training your vet or groomer has. As a result, it’s important to be open and ask them questions about what you can do to make the visit better. Even if you don’t agree with their recommendations, be considerate and remember that they in all likelihood know what they’re talking about.
Is your pet less than enthusiastic about travel? If so, check out our tips on how to travel with your dog or cat.