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Behavioral Health: Anxiety & Stress During Routine Pet Wellness Exams

Taking your cat or dog to the vet is a fairly standard process, but what happens if your furry friend isn't a big fan of the experience? Here, our vets in Benton offer some advice on how to make less stress for your pet during vet visits and what signs your cat or dog may show if they are frightened.

How to Make a Vet Visit Less Stressful For Your Cat or Dog

For many pet owners, routine wellness exams are essential for maintaining their pet's health. However, these trips to the vet can often be a source of high anxiety and stress for our furry friends. Just as a child might fear a doctor's visit, pets can feel similar apprehension when faced with an unfamiliar environment and unusual procedures. 

What are the symptoms associated with stress or anxiety in pets?

Every pet owner wishes to ensure their pet's well-being, especially in unfamiliar or potentially stressful situations such as a trip to the veterinarian. Recognizing signs of anxiety or stress in your pet is the first step toward alleviating their discomfort.

Here are some typical behaviors to look for:

  1. Hiding or attempting to escape: Dogs may hide in a corner or under a chair. Cats often seek refuge in their carrier.
  2. Vocalizations: Whining, meowing, growling, or even hissing can all be signs that your pet is uncomfortable.
  3. Shaking or trembling: This is especially common in smaller dogs, though any pet check-up can exhibit this when they're nervous.
  4. Increased salivation or panting: This can be a clear sign of stress, especially in dogs.

Ways to Cause Less Stress For Your Pet

You may wonder how to get a scared dog or cat to the vet and help their visit to be a positive one. Luckily there are some ways that you can increase the likelihood that your pet will enjoy their experience.

Here are some effective strategies to ensure your pet feels at ease during their next visit: 

  1. Familiarize them with the environment: Before their appointment, visit the clinic to let your pet sniff around. This can help them get accustomed to their surroundings.
  2. Use calming aids: There are products on the market that contain pheromones for calming cats and dogs.
  3. Bring their favorite toy or blanket: When your pet has a familiar object they may feel more comfortable.
  4. Consultation on medication: Consult with the vet if your pet cannot be calmed through other methods to discuss medications that can help them relax during their visit.
  5. Offer positive reinforcement: Offering your pet treats and pets throughout their appointment can go a long way in reassuring them.
  6. A pet should arrive with an appetite: Should I feed my cat or dog before the vet? We recommend bringing your pet to the clinic slightly hungry. This will make offering treats easier.
  7. Stay calm:  Always remain calm during your pet's appointment. They can sense how you are feeling.

Helping Your Cat or Dog Relax After Their Vet Visit

After the vet visit, it's important to manage your dog or cat's behavior. You can help by playing with them or offering a heavy dose of cuddles. This can help them associate the vet visit with a positive experience, preventing your dog or cat from feeling traumatized after their vet visit, and making future trips smoother.

Routine pet wellness exams in Benton are important for physical health, but we must also consider a pet’s behavioral health. With proper preparation and aftercare, vet visits can be a stress-free experience for both you and your beloved pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Would you like to schedule your furry friend's routine exam? Contact our vets who are experienced with anxious dogs and cats in Benton to book an appointment. 

Welcoming Cats & Dogs to Our Animal Hospital

Saline County Animal Clinic welcomes cats, dogs, and their people to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Benton dogs and cats. Get in touch to book your pet's appointment.

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