Two out of every three households in the United States own a pet. Caring for a pet comes with a lot of responsibilities, and the occasional vet visit is among them.

Vet visits can be troublesome because they trigger anxiety in some animals. Dogs, for instance, are social animals, which makes them more prone to separation anxiety. This makes trips to the vet that much harder for many pet owners.

This leaves many pet owners wondering how to handle pet anxiety. I’ll offer some advice on how to make a vet visit less stressful here.

Practice Contact

Part of the stress involved in vet visits has to do with the vet handling your pet. Pets that are more solitary or aren’t used to people touching their feet or their mouths may get agitated. Giving them more attention might help with this.

Teaching a senior pet might be harder than a young pet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You may have to work at it a little longer.

Positive Reinforcement

A key component of practicing contact is operant conditioning. Animals have high levels of food motivation, meaning that they respond well to food as a reward.

This can also work for dealing with separation anxiety. Try leaving the room for a few minutes and telling your pet not to follow you. Wait a few minutes, then give them a treat if they don’t follow you.

Keep trying this, slowly increasing the amount of time your pet has to be away from you. Eventually, they should be able to handle a vet visit without you in the room.

Practice Visits

This might sound strange, but it can help. Pets often dread visits to the vet because they associate it with shots or other unpleasant treatments. Giving your pet pleasant experiences with their medical team can calm your pet and change the way they think about veterinarians.

Try taking your pet to the veterinarian’s for a meet and greet. We’d be more than happy to see them. It’d be a nice change from all the nervous pets we see. This will also help your senior pet stay active.

Go for Car Rides

The sight of the vet or their office is one factor that can trigger anxiety in pets, but it’s not the only one. The sight of a pet carrier can scare them, so it’s best to work with the carrier.

Put your pet in a carrier and drive it around the block or to a park. Take the animals to places they’ll enjoy going so that they associate pet carriers and car rides with positive experiences.

Please get your pet micro-chipped before you try this. Pet health becomes a lesser issue if your beloved animal is missing.

How to Stop Pet Anxiety for a Better Vet Visit

If you asked me what the toughest part of owning a pet was, I would say a vet visit. Taking a pet for a checkup can be a daunting prospect due to pet anxiety.

I’ve discussed some ways to deal with pet anxiety here, but there is no shortage of ways to keep your pet healthy. Please contact me at Pawtology to learn more or schedule an appointment.