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!
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.
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.