GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — When your dog or cat bolts to their favorite hiding place at the thought of going to the vet, it makes exam day stressful for both you and him.
Because it’s important that your pet gets regular checkups and be taken into your primary care veterinarian at the first sign of trouble, our team members offer some helpful suggestions to make your trip in easier:
- A seat belt harness for your dog can make him feel more secure, prevent him from jumping out the window, and be set up to still allow him to sit, stand, turn around and reach his nose to the window for a sniff.
- Transporting cats in a carrier is best. You avoid scratches and bites, it keeps your cat safe and contained, and you avoid having your cat get stuck under a car seat while trying to hide. You can also cover the opening with a cloth so that they cannot see strange people, dogs, and environments that could stress them out.
- Place the pet carrier out in the open a few days before the appointment. This way, your pet has a chance to get used to it being around rather than running away as soon as they see it making it difficult to catch him/her. You can even feed your pet treats inside the carrier, so there is a positive association with it.
- Try adding catnip in the carrier if it tends to have a calming effect on your cat.
- Take your dog for rides in the car around the block or on a quick run to the store so that she isn’t only put in the car when she has to go to the vet.
- If your pet is injured and cannot get up or is difficult to move, place him/her on a large towel or blanket, and with two people you can move your pet on this make-shift stretcher (or one person for a cat or small dog). This lessens jostling and causing your pet pain.
- If your cat or dog detests the car ride, keeping the noise in the car down may help calm him. You can turn off the radio and avoid having the air conditioner or heater on full blast.
- For anxious pets, ask your primary care veterinarian what day and time is their least busy and schedule for that time. This way you can minimize the time your pet spends in the clinic.
- Always keep your dog on a leash in the veterinary clinic. No matter how well trained they are, dogs can get stressed and behave differently than you expect.
- For pets that get car sick, ask your veterinarian about an anti-vomiting medication called Cerenia® that can be given orally before trips.
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