Prepare for Success
Pre-visit preparation is very important for all pets. For some pets this may mean a calm, safe ride to the office, for others it may mean anti-anxitey medications a few hours before the visit and for still others it may mean a day or two of preparation to make the ride in the pet carrier safe and calm. When you call to make an appointment for your pet we will take the time to advise you on the best way to prepare for your visit. We will continue to build you pet's emotional record and recommend changes to the pre-visit preparation as necessary.
For most patients reward therapy is the cornerstone to a great veterinary visit. Rewards can be food treats, toys or even grooming. Creating positive associations with the hospital, the scale and with the staff is frequently accomplished with yummy treats given often. For this reason we ask you to bring your pet in hungry, and please let us know if your pet has any food allergies. We have lots of high value treats but if "Fluffy" is not hungry the treats will have less importance to your furry friend. Peanut butter and shrimp are two examples of very yummy treats for pets, however we know that some human friends are highly allergic to these foods so PLEASE make us aware of any human allergies that may be involved with your family.
Safe, Calm car ride
A safe car ride is important for both owner and pet. Cats and small dogs should always be transported in a carrier to help your pet feel safe and secure. Constant movement can be unsettling for pets. Large dogs should be safely secured in the back seat of a vehicle to prevent injury during sudden stops or changing direction. Uneven footing and being tossed around can increase fear, anxiety and stress.
Stress reducing preparations
Some pets need something to prevent the Fear Cascade. A fearful or anxious pet will only become more fearful at each step of the visit: from home to car to hospital to exam room. Pheromones are chemical communications between animals. We can use pheromones to reduce stress in cats in dogs. Natural supplements and aromatherapy as well as body wraps can also help prevent the Fear Cascade. Anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed if your pet has extreme pre-visit stress.
preparing the pet carrier
If you struggle to get your cat (or even find your cat) into the carrier we have suggestions for you. The best type of carrier to use is one that opens from the top as well as the front.
First- bring the carrier into the common living area several days before the visit. Clean it to remove old scents. Keep all doors open so your cat can investigate the carrier at its own pace.
Next- Use pheromone spray on a towel and place it in the carrier. Place a few small HIGH value treats in the carrier, or even feed you cat in the carrier for a few days before the visit.
Finally - calmly close the carrier when the cat is inside. Stay calm---cats can sense if you are stressed. After the cat is in the carrier cover the carrier with a pheromone infused towel. (spray towel with pheromones 30 minutes before using) The towel will be calming as well as a visual block for anxious cats.
Remember to lift and carry the carrier by the sides, FLAT and LEVEL so that your cat doesn't tumble around during transportation. Place the carrier on a flat spot in the car so that it will not slide around during the drive to the hospital.