Taking your pet to the veterinarians' office can be an adventure all on its own. There are so many sights, sounds, smells and other sensations that your pet can easily become quite excited or agitated to the point that control is difficult. Multiply this by the ever rotating average of 10 or more pets in a busy waiting room and mass pandemonium could be the result.
Without proper training and control, a veterinarian's waiting room might quickly become a bedlam of scales, feather and fur as the animals all compete for space and attention.
So what can you do to make the trip less stressful for your pet, yourself, your vet and the staff? There are five basic points that will make any visit, less of an odyssey.
1 - First, be certain to leash or halter train your dog if you do not plan on using a pet carrier for transport.
A pet carrier is ideal for small animals as this provides them a measure of security, as they have their own personal space, and it also gives them protection from larger or aggressive animals that might be in the waiting room, but for larger animals a pet carrier may not be an option.
A shorter leash or halter is best in this situation as it provides more control for the dog owner and prevents tangling with other animals or furniture. Leashes also provide a handhold for cases where aggressive behaviors amongst animals might otherwise get out of control.
2 - Secondly, consider muzzle training for your pet. Many veterinarian hospitals now request you to muzzle your pet. This is for the safety of other patients as well as the staff.
A muzzle will simply fit around a dog's mouth area and prevent biting but to a dog that is unfamiliar with the device this can be a very frightening experience. Giving your pet the opportunity to learn about this device in a non-threatening environment can make the office visit much less traumatic.
3 - A third tip is not to forget the rewards. Unless your veterinarian has requested your dog have no food for specific purposes, such as testing, or if they do not allow food in the waiting room, feel free to bring along a treat for your pet.
This will help them to feel more at ease with the new surroundings and help to keep their focus on you rather than on getting a closer look at the iguana on a leash in the corner. It also gives you the chance to continue the training lessons while waiting for your pet to be called back to the exam rooms.
Plus, your dog will think you are really cool and, if you are lucky, so will that cute receptionist you've had your eye on.
4 - Fourth, keep track of your pet's medical records. Is your pet allergic to anything? Is she up to date on her vaccination shots? How old is he? Has your pet had any surgeries, major illnesses or parasites? These things are all important to know and could be potentially life threatening if you didn't keep them current.
Regular visit to the vet and being current on shots is always a good idea. Why risk losing your precious friend to some disease that is virtually non-existent over a measly few dollars? Plus, visiting the vet regularly will help your pet to become more relaxed with the office settings and they will respond better.
5 - For our fifth tip, let's party. Socializing your pet to other people and animals prior to vet visits is a great idea provided they are current on their vaccinations.
This allows them to learn acceptable behaviors around other animals and what the boundaries of interaction are. Hosting a puppy party is a great way to do this. Invite several other dog owners over to visit and serve a modest picnic or potluck type meal.
Encourage the dogs to play and interact together and with the other owners. This will help them to learn what you will and will not accept and helps you to determine potential problem areas.
Following these simple tips can make vet visits less traumatic on all involved and much easier to cope with. You will thank yourself later.
Your pet will thank you and so will the staff at the vet's office.