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May 18, 2022

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Is Your Pet Nervous At The Vet?

Some pets are nervous at the vet while others are confident and happy. Everyone wants their pet to be relaxed and happy, but how do we get there with a nervous pet? There are many steps we take at Pawtown Veterinary Care to try to make your pet’s visit more fun and less scary.

  • We designed our building to be inviting and relaxing. We used neutral colors and lot of natural light so that humans and pets alike feel more comfortable in our office.
  • Traction. Cats and dogs don’t like surfaces where their paws can’t get a grip. We chose flooring that has a mild texture so paws can get more traction. We also use grippy pads on our exam tables so your pet can move around without slipping.
  • Time. Some pets need a little extra time to acclimate to new surroundings. It can be helpful to let your pet just sit and observe while we take some time and discuss their needs before we jump into the exam.
  • Treats! Most pets love treats. Some know exactly where the treat jar lives and head right for it when they walk in the door (see the photo above of one of our patients asking for a cookie). Treats can make pets feel better about an experience. And they can be used to help maneuver pets into position or provide a distraction which reduces the amount of physical manipulation required. We have a variety of treats on hand to help engage and distract your pet.
  • Pheromones. Certain pheromones can help calm and reassure your pet. We use Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. There are diffusers in the exam rooms and we have a spray to apply to any surface we like: on a bandana around your pet’s neck or over their carrier, on the exam table, on our clothes, etc. Pheromones send calming messages to your pet and help reassure them that things are ok.
  • Body language. Your pet uses body language to communicate. We have an experienced staff that is patient and kind. We listen to what your pet is telling us and we do our best to communicate a positive message back. Some pets don’t like direct eye contact or anyone reaching over their heads or getting behind them, etc. Paying attention to what your pet is saying can help us figure out how to accomplish our goals with the least amount of stress.

So what if your pet is not impressed with a welcoming space, good traction, time, treats and pheromones? Some pets are so anxious that these steps are not enough to let them relax. This is when we like to have a conversation with you to figure out the best way to help your pet. Sometimes anti-anxiety medication given before the vet visit can help. And sometimes there are other tips or tricks we know that could make their experience better. We would like all pets to feel welcome and safe in our office. If you would like to talk to us about how to make your pet’s vet experience better, please call us or send us an email, we would love to help!