dog at veterinarian.

Even relatively calm pets feel a bit unnerved at the vet. We get it, and try not to take it personally! The truth is, it’s an unexpected experience that can involve some unwanted poking and prodding, and pets don’t always appreciate the attention. This is evidenced by repetitive lip-licking, whining, dilated pupils, and a general vibe of “get me outta here!” Since we know the importance of routine veterinary care, it is important to address and ease pet anxiety. 

Each Pet Is Different

Pets range from staying open and flexible to downright perplexed and petrified during veterinary visits. We could provide the same services to two different pets, but the reactions would vary completely. We go the extra mile to ensure that pets stay safe while in our care, but it’s equally important that they also experience trust, confidence, warmth, and security as well. As such, we are well-versed in handling techniques that reduce fear and stress, and constantly look for signs of unease. 

How to Get a Pet to Relax

When a pet owner sees their pet is stressed out, they get stressed out, too. Depending on why the animal is at the vet, we may have a great deal to discuss and work on before sending them home. This means that getting a pet to relax is of the highest priority. We recommend the following strategies:

  • We might need them to come in on an empty stomach (for surgery or testing), but otherwise try to schedule an appointment that is between meals. A full tummy can turn pretty quickly at the vet, and make a pet feel even worse about their situation. Plus, to help them build positive connections to the vet we may offer tasty treats (or if you have your own preferred treats, please bring them along).
  • Exercise your pet prior to arrival. A tired pet is a happier one.
  • If the lobby has added to anxiety in the past, we can check your pet in over the phone. When the exam room is ready at your pet’s appointment time, we can help usher you in. 
  • Following your pet’s appointment, we can accompany you to your car with necessary paperwork and even take payment over the phone. 
  • Keep it light! We try hard to create a welcoming environment for pets and their people. If you’re having fun, chances are your pet will relax a little bit. 
  • Allow them to sniff around. Keep the leash a little slack (unless a confrontation with another animal is imminent) and encourage them to have a positive encounter with our staff or clientele (if applicable). 

Pet-Friendly Vet Practices

For some pets, the idea of springing a vet appointment on them is grounds for the silent treatment. Ease into the concept of vet visits by coming in for happy visits every once in a while. This means you simply stop by, offer praise, encouragement, and rewards, and leave before things get tense. Over time, they’ll grow to accept the vet as a place they don’t mind so much.

If your pet needs a little extra help, we can discuss nutritional supplements or prescription medications designed to ease stress and anxiety. 

Please call us at (916) 726-2334 with any additional questions about calming techniques for pets. We are always here to help at Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital