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Heather Ridge Pet Hospital

Tips for Reducing Fear at the Vet

We understand that a visit to the veterinary clinic may lead to panic for some of our patients. At Heather Ridge Pet Hospital, we are committed to reduce the fear and anxiety for your pet, so if you have any specific concerns please let us know and we will do our best to help.

Our hospital has separate waiting areas for dogs and cats, stress reducing pheromones are diffused throughout the hospital, and we have choices of delicious treats which can help make the visit more enjoyable. However, ensuring a less stressful visit starts even before they arrive. Here are some tips to help reduce anxiety and stress prior to arrival:

  • Have your pet arrive hungry so that food rewards are more effective (this can be accomplished by feeding half of their regular meal for breakfast). If your pet has specific treats (some are quite finicky or have food allergies) that they love, please bring them along! If your pet has a favorite toy, this may also be helpful to bring along.

  • Preparing the car for transport can include: playing soft/calming music, spraying pheromones such as Feliway® or Adaptil®, and providing treats in the car.

  • Providing safe transport with a carrier or harness. The Center for Pet Safety performs independent testing of pet restraints and the results are public. Sudden stops can be dangerous and stressful for your pet.

  • If your dog is fearful of other dogs or the waiting room is stressful, remain in your car and call us upon arrival so we can escort you to the exam room when it is available.

  • If pre-visit medications have been prescribed, please use as directed.

Cats have some unique needs, and here are some additional suggestions for our feline friends:

  • Cat carriers ideally would have both a top and front entry.

  • Bringing the carrier out at least 3 days prior to the visit so they can inspect the carrier.

  • Providing delicious treats or catnip in the carrier can also help. Spraying Feliway inside the carrier can reduce stress.

  • Placing a comfy blanket or an item of your clothing for familiar smell can make the carrier less scary.

  • During transport covering the carrier with a towel or blanket can make them feel more cozy.

  • The Catalyst Council has a great video regarding cat carriers 'Cat Carrier: Friend, Not Foe .

  • Upon arrival in the exam room, you may open the carrier doors and allow your cat to explore. If they choose to stay in the carrier, please allow them to remain.