Our pets don’t understand that veterinarians help keep them healthy and will help them feel better if they are ill.
As territorial creatures, cats are easily upset in unfamiliar surroundings. Both cats and dogs may not like the medicinal odor in a vet’s office. They can also sense if we or other pets and their humans are nervous. It’s important that we remain calm as this will reassure our pets.
First time visits to the vet’s office can be pleasant experiences in spite of your pet being handled by a stranger. Your vet can help in this respect with gentle handling and giving treats which can ease a pet’s fear.
You might consider whether to choose a male or female vet depending on which one your pet seems more at ease with.
Visit the vet’s office just to say hello and don’t forget to offer treats. You can ask the receptionist to give your pet treats as well.
Exercise your pet before a vet visit. A tired pet is less likely to have the energy to be upset.
It’s also important that your pet associate a car ride with something pleasant, as well as vet visits. For dogs, going to a doggie park or visiting with friends regularly will help. Cats can go for short rides and you can offer a favorite treat.
Beginning at a very young age, make it part of your daily routine to check ears, eyes, mouth, paws and give an all over body rub. Your pet will become accustomed to being touched and will not put up such a fuss at the vet’s exam.
In emergencies, keep calm, no matter what the situation. You don’t want your pet to sense your fear and become panicky.
I’m fortunate because my vet makes house visits for situations that don’t require more than a cursory check. There are vets who travel to a patient’s home and have handily equipped medical vans. But your pet still needs to get used to office visits.