Somehow, your pets seem to instinctively know when it’s time for that dreaded visit to the vet. They hide behind furniture, growl, hiss, and do everything they can to fight you, and while you eventually find a way to wrestle them into the car, you just know they’re going to punish you for it later (with cats you can expect to receive the cold shoulder for the next couple days…dogs will just eat your favorite shoes). So how can you make a trip to the vet easier for everyone involved? Just follow these five simple steps.
1. Get them comfortable with their crate. If your pet goes berserk in the car, you have no other option than to crate them. But getting them in can be hard if they’re not accustomed to it (say, if you only put them in once a year). You’ll be better off if you use the crate as a bed for your pet when it’s not being utilized for transportation. Put it in their favorite spot in the house and encourage them to use it by placing treats and toys inside. That way, you’ll have no trouble getting them in when the vet visit rolls around.
2. Get them comfortable with the car. If your pet is scared of the car, take them on several short trips to acclimate them to the ride. Over the course of time, they will become accustomed to the movement and relax a little.
3. Create a calm environment. Some animals are frightened by the outside world or by the car in general. To keep them calm, put a towel or pillow in their crate, as well as a couple of toys. Make sure that their carrying cases are secure in the car so that they don’t slide around. Then try covering the crate with a blanket, which will help them feel like they’re in a safe little hidey-hole. Keep your windows closed and your stereo turned low so they’re not inundated with strange noises, and set the temperature in the low 70s for maximum comfort. It also helps if you talk to them so they know you’re still there.
4. Wear them out. If you have a dog, take him for a walk or jog before going to the vet. The benefits are twofold: he’ll do his business and he’ll be too tired to complain by the time you have to leave. As for cats, they tend to sleep quite a bit during the day anyway, so get them to chase the laser-pointer for awhile, and then nab them while they’re napping.
5. Sedate them. If going to the vet is just too stressful for you and your pet, you can always keep them calm with a light sedative. This should really only be used as a last resort, since there can be side effects, but you can generally administer a small dose of Benadryl, Valerian Root, or Rescue Remedy (or a combination thereof) to cut your pet’s anxiety and make them a little sleepy. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before giving your animal any medications to ensure that you administer the correct dosage.
If you just can’t get your loveable pooch or cuddly kitten out the door, or the situation is causing undue stress, consider searching for a veterinarian that does house-calls. Just remember that while this could alleviate your problem for awhile, your pet may eventually need testing or care that cannot be provided in-home. Your best bet for a healthy, happy animal is to get them accustomed to car rides, since they will no doubt have to face one sooner or later.
Guest post by Karen McCall of Car Insurance Quotes Comparison.