Animal behavior expert Karen Wild discusses taking pets to the vet


Do you panic when a vet visit is scheduled for your dog or cat? Should you pretend it’s a walk in the park, or that the odd pet carrier is just there for decoration?

We often assume that our pets wouldn’t want to go to the vet, but why not? Veterinarians care incredibly about animals, which is why they have chosen to work long hours and study for so many years, writes Karen Wild, an expert in animal behavior.

Veterinarians are currently under extreme pressure. The sheer volume of new pets we’ve suddenly asked for, plus Brexit, plus Covid-19, means some practices need to shut down, charge more for their services, all to provide the help our pets need. . It breaks my heart to see posters asking people to behave appropriately and not to abuse vets and their staff.

Karen wild

We are fortunate to have excellent vets locally. They are highly trained professionals who are dedicated to the health and well-being of our pets. How about making an effort to help them and our dogs by creating a really well formed and calm plan for each visit to the vet.

Some of you have told me that your dogs and cats really love vet surgery, that for them it’s like visiting a social club, happy to be there and say hello to everyone in sight. Others tell me that their cats are petrified and howl or scratch, or that their dogs refuse to enter, perhaps because they were sick the last time they visited or because they are worried about others. dogs in the waiting room.

The good news is, we can help all of our pets enjoy these trips.

For dogs, make sure they are happy to meet other people in all situations when they are doing well. Are they worried about being petted or touched? It can make it very stressful for the vet to try and take a closer look at them. Relax your dog by matching any touch with something your dog loves, like a delicious chicken or his favorite toy.

Will your dog let you examine or immobilize them in the same way as at the vet? Practice gently holding his collar, harness, or shoulders at home, rewarding him with a really tasty treat while staying happy and calm. If they’re reluctant, take your time and never force them.

Familiarize your cat with its transport cage by making it a nice bed in which it can choose to lie down or by simply leaving it a few weeks before the visit.

Above all, make sure that all of these things are regular and rewarding, so that your next visit to the vet is the best one yet.

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