We are here to help take the “scaredy” out of scaredy-cat! Many pets often get nervous when in the car and headed to the vet. This experience can be extremely traumatizing for your pet and can lead to ongoing anxiety whenever they get into your car. But do not fear! There are several things you, as their owner, can do to help ease their nerves and make trips to the vet, dare we say… pleasant!
Get Your Pet Familiar with Their Carrier, Crate, or Harness
It is important to get your pet to get into their crate or carrier willingly and voluntarily. Why? The goal is to have their carrier be a safe, happy “haven” for them. If your pet is not already doing so, it is recommended to put treats or toys in their carrier so they can create that positive association. If prescribed, also give your pet any anti-nausea or anti-anxiety medication prior to an “event”, this can also help with getting to love their carrier. Cats should be peacefully resting in their crate prior to being carried out to the car and dogs should be calmly walked to the car and then placed in their crate.
Scents are another great way to allow your pet to relax in their carrier. Bring an item from home, such as a blanket, that has familiar smells on it. Use Feliway Spray, a calming feline pheromone-spray it on a towel or blanket 10 minutes prior, and place it in the carrier with your pet.
Set the Tone
Pets are incredible at sensing their owner’s emotions so, when you are stressed, they are also stressed. It is key to set the tone for the ride in the car to the vet, so you also need to try and remain calm. Give yourself ample time to prepare yourself and your pet for the visit and make sure that your tone of voice is friendly and happy.
Before you get on the road, please consider the following tips:
- Ensure the carrier/crate is secure and not sliding around or able to fall off the seat
- If you prefer to secure your pet with a harness/special seatbelt attachment in the vehicle, please confirm it is installed correctly
- Drive slowly especially around corners and when changing speeds to help reduce your pets’ anxiety
- Consider playing calming music or background noise in the car while heading to the appointment. Just because your morning coffee is kicking in does not mean energetic music is the best way to go.
How We Can Help
Here at Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital located in, Portland, OR we provide a state-of-the-art experience for you and your pet, meaning, not only will your pet receive the highest level of medical care, but the level of compassion that our staff provides is also a top priority! For more information regarding our services or to book an appointment with us, please call 503-406-1859.