If you know your pet is more motivated by play rather than food, let us know. If there is a favorite toy, bring it with you. And we have lots of toys at the hospital too. Ask for your pet's favorite toy if you did not bring one with you.
Bring pets hungry. If it is safe for your pet's health, do not offer food at home for several hours and offer a smaller breakfast. This will make your pet more food motivated. Our goal is to keep your dog or cat focused on getting treats and love during the visit.
De-stress the carrier. Make the carrier a fun place to be: Use it as a regular place to feed treats, deliver toys, and spray it with pheromones half an hour before putting the cat into the carrier.
Use tools if you have them. If your pet is nervous and you have a thunder shirt, bring it with you or put it on before getting into the car. If you would like information about Thundershirts, please ask us.
Medication. Some pets have a history of really being scared at the vets. If this is the case, please call and speak with your doctor. We have medication you can give before you leave the house that may be very helpful. Examples of medications that reduce anxiety without making your pet less alert are Trzadone for dogs and Gabapentin for cats. And hopefully, over time, your pet will learn to love coming to see us if the fear is not reinforced during future visits.
Acclimate nervous pets. If you sense that your pet is anxious during a visit, we encourage you to bring your pet to the hospital between appointments to play and eat a few treats to create a positive association. We offer this at no charge. We also encourage you to day board your pet with us several times. Ideally, this would be a day when we would only pet and play and offer treats. There is a $24 fee for day boarding.
Massage. While your pet is being examined, try massaging the head between the eyes and down the bridge of the nose. This works on dogs and cats. Rabbits prefer to have the area between their ears massaged.
Dr Elaine Salinger VMD