It is natural for cats and dogs to be nervous at the vet. There are many unfamiliar smells and sounds. You can’t tell your pet why he’s there or what he can expect to happen any more easily than he can tell you where it hurts.
Fortunately, there are many things that veterinary staff and owners can do to make the experience less stressful for both cats and dogs. Calm pets are easier to diagnose (pets in fear mask pain) and to treat (fearful pets often panic and resist).
The most important thing to remember is that a pet is unlikely to "naturally" like the veterinary experience. If dragged onto the scale, plopped onto the exam table, and forcefully restrained for diagnostics and treatments, it natural for any cat or dog to quickly try to evade or escape the situation. Anything we can do reduce the amount of stress, from changing the environment to giving choice to the pet, from using less threatening body language to enticing with treats, will help him/her to relax and cooperate in the veterinary setting.
what we're doing:
- Pets without digestive upset or other limitations can expect periodic treats to go along with their exam and treatment. Please let us know if you have a peanut allergy, as one of the treats we use is peanut butter.
- Each of our exam rooms has a Feliway diffuser, which emits a pheromone that some cats find calming. We also spray Feliway on bath towels and cat beds.
- Our staff strives to practice low-stress handling techniques such as non-threatening body language and as little physical restraint as possible.
Please read this wonderful article by renowned veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, DACVB: