Leashes being yanked out of hands, waiting room accidents, constant whining, meowing, and barking… Loving animals through their anxiety is all in a day’s work for the front of office staff at LazyPaw Animal Hospitals. Though it’s unlikely that most pet patients will ever learn to jump for joy at the prospect of a vet clinic visit, there are some tricks to teaching animals there is no reason to fear.
If your pet gets anxious in the car because they are only used to driving to the pet clinic, try taking them for short car rides somewhere they’re guaranteed to love. Visit a favorite park and take a nice walk, hit a great pet bakery and buy them a small treat, or simply drive around for a few minutes and come back home. Your pet will learn that all car rides don’t take them down a highway of misery and vaccine shots, and over time they will no longer assume that a car trip equals a vet visit.
Once your pet is adjusted to the car, swing by the vet clinic for no reason at all. From your pet’s perspective, every vet clinic visit means something is about to happen to them—usually something they won’t like, such as a nail trim, shots, Bordetella vaccine shot up the nose, or a friendly animal surgeon shining a flashlight in their eyes and ears. However, if you go to the vet clinic for no reason, the fear will start to drain away from the experience.
When visiting the pet clinic, bring some favorite treats and toys. Let the animal surgeon give a few treats to your furry friend, and see if the techs and front desk staff can spare a minute or two to play. (Hint: Yes, we always will!)
Once your pet sees the vet clinic as a fun place filled with her adoring fans, you can try sitting in the waiting room and reading a magazine for a few minutes with her. You can also give her treats for sitting on the scale. Then let her get some goodbye petting from the staff and head back home.
Pet clinic visits don’t have to spell crisis for your animal. With a little training, they’ll see that the vet clinic doesn’t have to be a place of panic.