One of the most important things you can do for your pet’s quality of life and longevity is to ensure they receive routine veterinary examinations. However, many pets experience significant fear, anxiety, and stress when at the veterinary hospital. If you’ve ever considered putting off your pet’s preventive care when they seem healthy simply to avoid the stress and anxiety a veterinary visit causes them, read our Southwest Vet team’s five tips to learn how to help make your four-legged friend’s veterinary visits less stressful. 

Lower stress = higher quality veterinary care

Routine veterinary examinations are essential to help ensure your pet has a good quality of life, but some pets suffer extreme anxiety when at the veterinary hospital. Helping to make your pet’s veterinary visits less stressful provides several benefits, including

  • Reduced anxiety — Our Southwest Vet team recognizes the importance of providing your pet with a phenomenally positive experience, and our low-stress veterinary philosophy can help reduce their anxiety—and yours. This perspective leads to a more positive experience for everyone involved and helps create a strong veterinarian-pet relationship.
  • Increased education — Low-stress veterinary visits allow time for you to learn about your pet’s health, ask your veterinarian questions, and appreciate our dedicated team’s support. 
  • Improved health outcomes — When a patient is relaxed, our intention to practice excellent medicine can be fulfilled, enabling our team to conduct a thorough examination and perform necessary procedures. This leads to better health outcomes for pets and helps veterinarians detect health issues early. You may be decreasing your pet’s life by postponing their routine care because they feel fear, anxiety, and stress while at the veterinary hospital.
  • Enhanced trust — When pets experience less stress, they are more likely to develop positive associations with our hospital and team members, trust their veterinarian, and become more willing to return for future visits, helping ensure your pet receives the care they need throughout their lives.

5 ways to make veterinary visits less stressful for pets

While completely eliminating all the stress a pet feels while at the veterinary hospital may be an unattainable goal, you can take many steps to help decrease your pet’s overall anxiety, improving their veterinary care experience. To prepare your pet for an—almost—anxiety-free veterinary visit, follow these five stress-busting tips:

  • 1. Socialize your pet — A veterinary visit is especially difficult for a pet who is uncomfortable or fearful around unfamiliar people and places. To help prevent your pet from feeling fearful, socialize them beginning at an early age, so they grow into a well-adjusted adult. Ensure you expose your pet to a variety of people, animals, and environments during their early weeks and months of life.
  • 2. Familiarize your pet with being handled —  Handling your pet from a young age will help make veterinary care much easier and less stressful for you, your pet, and your veterinarian. To help accustom your pet to being handled, follow these tips:
    • Ears — Handle your pet’s ears to make ear cleaning sessions easier when they get older.
    • Mouth — Look in your pet’s mouth, and touch their teeth and tongue to prepare them for toothbrushing.
    • Feet — Touch and hold your pet’s paws to help accustom them to having their nails trimmed.
    • Belly — Find their favorite itchy spot, and rub their belly, so they learn to enjoy being touched in their abdominal area.
  • 3. Accustom your pet to being in their carrier — Many pets associate their carrier with going to the veterinary hospital, which can cause anxiety and stress. Help make the carrier a positive place by always keeping it accessible, with a cozy bed and some treats inside. By doing this, your pet will associate their carrier with positive experiences rather than only negative ones.
  • 4. Use pheromone spray —  Pheromone spray can help reduce your pet’s anxiety and stress. These sprays mimic the natural pheromones that pets release when they are calm and relaxed, which can help to calm your four-legged friend during their veterinary visit.
  • 5. Exercise your pet — A good way to burn off excess nervous energy and reduce your pet’s anxiety is to exercise them before heading to the veterinary hospital. A game of fetch or a few laps around the park and help calm your pet before heading to the veterinary hospital. 

Our Southwest Vet team is committed to providing your pet with the highest quality of care while they feel minimal stress. Schedule your pet’s next low-stress veterinary visit with our team.