Our veterinary team needs your help to make your dog’s visit as fear-free as possible. One thing you can do is to ensure that your dog gets to Wilmot Veterinary Clinic in a calm state of mind. The following tips will help you, and your pet arrives in one piece and in peace.
Hungry is good. Fasting your pet for about twelve hours before a veterinary visit can help prevent nausea with car travel as well as making the treats at the veterinary visit more appealing. Have a treat bonanza. Bring 50 to 100 of your pet’s favourite treats but in tiny amounts. Cut them up if necessary. Your pet likes a variety of treats? Bring an assortment! Even your canned food might do the trick. Treats should be no larger than half a pea or a single lick. You might not use all of them, but it is better to have too many than not enough.
Exercise is good. A tired dog is more likely to be less anxious and less excitable during the car ride and at the veterinary hospital. If possible, a good 20 to 30-minute walk or run would be ideal. Allow time for your dog to go to the washroom to prevent accidents along the way.
Distraction is good. Bring favourite toys, a grooming brush and familiar items your dog likes. This will help your pet relax in the veterinary hospital. Our veterinary team may ask you to use these items to help distract your pet during the visit.
Stress reducing aids are good. A calming pheromone called Adaptil can help promote relaxation. The scent of lavender has been shown to have a calming effect on dogs during car travel. An item that smells like home, such as a blanket your pet sleeps on or a t-shirt you’ve worn can also provide comfort for your pet. For dogs, consider spraying a bandana with Adaptil and placing it on your dog’s neck. Allow the Adaptil pheromone to dry for 10 to 15 minutes before exposing your pet to the sprayed item. Additionally, a Thundershirt has also been shown to reduced stress during travel and at the veterinary clinic. Spraying the Thundershirt with Adaptil will also help.
Car Preparation is good. Make sure your dog is acclimated to a carrier, crate, or a CPS approved seatbelt harness and is not stressed by travel confinement. Your dog should voluntarily go into a carrier or crate or wear a seatbelt harness. Walk your dog to the car on a leash. Like cats, small dogs can get in the carrier indoors and be carried to the car. When transporting your small dog in a carrier, minimize movement. If possible, support the carrier from the bottom, with one side resting against your chest, as if you are carrying a fragile gift. Prepare the car, so it promotes a calming environment. Play calming classical music. Spray Adaptil or scents such as lavender insider the car, 6 to 8 sprays of a calming pheromone or 2 or 3 sprays of a diluted lavender scent will suffice. Apply them 10 to 15 minutes before your pet enters the carrier or car. Cool or warm the car to a comfortable temperature before putting your pet inside.
Safety is good. Ensure the carrier/crate is properly secured in the vehicle put a Nonslip surface in and under carrier/crate or on the car seat. Place a pheromone-infused towel or blanket over the carrier, leaving one side uncovered for ventilation. The floorboard behind the passenger seat is the most secure location for a small pet carrier. Secure large crates or carriers to prevent sliding.
Having lots of time is good. Avoid feeling rushed. If you are stressed, your pet will sense this and may become stressed. To prevent car sickness, accelerate slowly from a stop, allow extra distance between other vehicles to prevent sudden braking, and take turns slowly. Be matter of fact, and don’t speak to your pet in a sing-song voice. If you are calm, happy and relaxed, your pet will be, too. Depending on your dog’s preferences, you might wait in the vehicle, take a short walk, or wait in the lobby.
Medications can be good. Sometimes even with all the above considerations, some dogs will still need some extra help. We can try natural products like Bio-Calm alone or in combination with a drug for sedation.
If you had anxiety while flying wouldn’t you want something to help you relax? Consider getting Biocalm, Adaptil and a Thundershirt for your pet. Call us to purchase and pick up these stress-reducing aids.
For more tips on stress-free veterinary visits watch this video.