Have you ever wondered how to keep your pet calm at the vet? Just like us, our dogs, cats and other beloved animals can become nervous when stepping into an unfamiliar medical environment. That’s why having a range of ways to soothe your pet during those nerve-wracking appointments can make all the difference.

At IAPWA we’ve had the privilege of accompanying hundreds of animals in need of veterinary care, helping ensure they feel calm and loved throughout their appointments. Drawing from our experiences, we’ve crafted a list of 8 essential tips to help ease your pet’s anxiety before and during their vet visits.

Inform the staff ahead of time

If you anticipate that your pet might struggle with anxiety during their visit, you might find it useful to inform the veterinary staff beforehand. They can offer guidance on ways to ease your pet’s distress such as scheduling appointments during quieter times, or suggesting calming medications or pheromone treatments.

Plan travel thoughtfully

If travelling to the vet via public transport, opt for quieter times of the day to minimise exposure to excessive noise that could overwhelm your pet. When travelling by car, choose routes with calmer roads and ensure your pet has ample space to rest comfortably. Being mindful of your pet’s comfort during the journey can help alleviate their stress levels.

Surround them with familiar scents

Think of your pet’s favourite blanket or toy—the ones that bring them the utmost comfort at home. Placing these cherished items inside their carrier before the vet visit can work wonders in calming their nerves. Alternatively, including an unwashed piece of your clothing, like a cosy t-shirt or hoodie, can surround them with your familiar scent and provide a sense of security in the unfamiliarity of the vet’s office.

 

Offer soothing reassurance

During the journey to the vet, speak to your pet in soothing tones and offer words of comfort and assurance. Once at the clinic, continue to speak gently and stroke them to let them know you’re there. Feeling your presence and recognising your voice will help them feel safer.

 

Maintain calm body language

As a pet owner, your demeanour plays a significant role in influencing your pet’s behaviour. Remaining calm and composed throughout the visit sends reassuring signals to your companion, helping them feel more at ease. We understand that taking your pet to the vet can also be stressful for us humans, as we don’t want them to be anxious or in pain. But remember that the veterinary team is there to support you and your pet, so trust in their expertise and do your best to stay composed throughout the appointment.

Consider medications

Anxiety medications or pheromone treatments may not be suitable for every pet, so it is important to talk to your vet about this. But when used appropriately, these treatments can help your pet feel more relaxed before and during their vet visit.

Tempt them with tasty treats

Before heading to the vet, treat your furry friend to their favourite snacks to offer a welcome distraction. Just be careful they don’t overindulge – too many treats could upset their stomach! After the visit, rewarding them with their favourite treats serves as positive reinforcement for their bravery and good behaviour. Just ensure that feeding your pet won’t interfere with any of their treatment.

Reward them with new toys

After the vet visit, surprise your pet with a brand-new toy—a squeaky ball for dogs or a catnip-infused mouse for cats are great options. This gesture not only rewards them for their courage but also provides an opportunity for quality bonding time after the visit.

 
We hope that these tips will help to make your much-loved pets feel more at ease during their next visit to the vet. 

Unfortunately not every animal is lucky enough to have a caring home that gives them the veterinary care they need. Here at IAPWA we are dedicated to creating a better future for animals. If this article has helped you and your pet, can you help us to change the life of an animal in need?

A donation of just £3 can vaccinate a stray, protecting them from spreading or developing deadly diseases. £5 can provide a much-needed food bundle to keep a starving animal alive. And just £25 can neuter a street dog, preventing more pups being born to suffer on the streets. As a small animal welfare charity, every donation – no matter how big or small – makes a huge difference to the animals who rely on our vital lifeline.

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Article written by IAPWA volunteer Chloe Ashford