How To Avoid The Fear Of A Veterinary Appointment
As humans, we are often reluctant to seek medical attention, and our pets may also perceive veterinary consultation as a traumatic experience.
Generally, when an animal needs medical attention, it is not because it needs a general overhaul, but rather a diagnosis or disease control. Anyway, the animal usually goes to the veterinarian for a treatment that invades its comfort zone.
Therefore, avoidant behaviors, barking, crying and even urinary incontinence are frequent reactions both in the previous moments and during the consultation.
Alleviate the fear of a veterinary appointment
Below is some of the advice provided by experts to mitigate this phobia:
1. The owner must show a relaxed attitude before and during the consultation.
Often, it is humans themselves who project nervousness into pets, which contributes to increasing the pet’s tension. To avoid this, it’s best to have a trusted veterinarian and, above all, stay as long as necessary to create complicity between the three.
2. Ensure that the veterinary experience is as traumatic as possible
Although the practice of certain treatments or interventions can be uncomfortable and even painful, owners can alleviate them with simple things: improving the animal’s transport conditions on the way to the veterinarian with comfort and safety, petting and adopting a rigid attitude and calm so that the orders are not understood as punishments, but as duties and, above all, rewards to the animal.
Rewards in the form of snacks, feed grains, bones… are essential to highlight the good behavior of our pets. These awards can be administered either at the end of the consultation or during, as long as the professional considers it convenient.
3. Promote the animal’s socialization from the beginning of its development
This aspect is essential, especially in the case of dogs and cats, as contact with other people is more viable. Encouraging meetings with others helps to increase the animal’s confidence and therefore avoid defensive behaviors that reflect its tension.
4. Get him used to letting him be handled
From the very beginning, it is essential that the animal feels relaxed when picked up or inspected. Practices like clipping your nails, opening your mouth, or simply holding or immobilizing you to bathe help create this essential complicity.
5. Go to the home veterinarian
In certain cases, whether because the animal needs special treatment or demonstrates excessive rejection in relation to an appointment that prevents it from going to the clinic, or because the specific characteristics of the species demand it, there are options for home veterinarians.
These interventions, in general, tend to be more relaxed due to the safety that the family environment transmits to the animal.
It is understandable that our pets show some tension in the face of this type of procedure, but it is in our hands to help them deal with it in the best possible way.