One of the most challenging things in the life of a pet owner is the trip to the vet. Whether it’s a routine check up, getting important vaccinations or an emergency run in when you’re worried your pet is seriously ill, that journey can be extremely stressful.
Today we’re taking a look at how you can face this challenge and feel confident and calm about it – a calmness that will help your pet feel less distressed and safer in your hands.
One of the most important things you can do is prepare you for that trip to the vets – and that preparation starts on day one of pet ownership, or even before! You don’t want to be looking for local vets and trying to decide which is best when your pet is in the middle of a health emergency!
From when you decide to get a pet, you can be researching the options you have, making sure they have a good reputation and that they’re able to provide care for the animal you’re planning to get. If you’re set on an exotic pet, you might need to travel further to find a vet who handles them.
Once you know which vet you’re going to register at, think about how you’re going to get there. Travel with a pet is very different to travel without one – if you’re driving, you have to think about how you’re going to keep your pet safe in the car and where to park. If you’re walking or using public transport, that brings a whole other set of problems to consider.
Prepare Your Pet
It can be a huge challenge to get a cat or dog into a carrier if it doesn’t want to be there. And this can form a vicious circle over time – all the memories they have of the pet carrier are of being forced into it, and they’ll fight harder every time to avoid repeating the experience.
Preparation can make a world of difference. If you put the effort in to help them form some positive associations with that carrier, you can change the experience radically.
First of all, don’t keep it in the loft or a cupboard until it’s time to take your pet to the vet. Leave it out for a week or more for them to explore and get comfortable with – this means it’s less unfamiliar when the time comes to travel in it.
Depending on the pet, you could also try to train them to walk into it. Rewarding them with treats and affection when they’re inside can quickly make them eager to run in when the time comes. Cats are less traditionally trainable than dogs, but feeding one in its carrier for the week before a vet’s visit can transform its attitude to the box, and make life much easier for you both.