Question: My cat hates to go to the vet. I have such a difficult time getting her into the carrier, and then when we get there, she hisses and spats at the vet and me. Is there anything I can do?
Answer: I am sorry to hear that your cat gets so anxious and nervous about coming in for a visit but there absolutely are some things that can make the experience better for both of you...
First, make sure to get your carrier out a few days ahead of time. Put it in an area that your cat enjoys. You can even place a few treats inside the carrier to encourage her to go inside and place a towel in the carrier to make it more comfy for your kitty.
I also recommend purchasing a product called Feliway. It comes in a spray as well as a diffuser. Feliway is a cat pheromone product that can help a cat feel more relaxed and about one hour prior to your veterinary appointment, spray the inside of the carrier with Feliway. About ½ hour prior to your appointment, place your cat within the carrier. Do not feed your kitty the day of the appointment, so that she will be more interested in treats.
When you’re at the veterinarian, check to see if there are any dogs in the waiting room. If there are, ask to be put into an exam room right away and once in the exam room, make sure to open the carrier right away.
You can give your cat some treats to help make the experience pleasant. If you have a carrier that the top comes off easily, remove the top. Many times the veterinarian can examine the cat while in the carrier. Let your kitty explore the exam room. Encourage her with praise.
With these tips, your next visit should be a good one.
Question: My dog gets really nervous when he rides in the car, and often throws up. What can I do to keep this from happening?
Answer: Your dog might actually be getting car sick, or he may have anxiety about riding in the car.
Try to ease your dog into the “car” experience. You can start by getting in the car with your dog, but not starting it. Sit in the car with your pet for a few minutes, and reward them if they are calm. Try this a few times. Next, get in the car with your dog, start the car, but do not go anywhere. Again, reward your dog with praise! Finally, drive a short distance, continuing to reward your pet while they are calm. Little by little, increase the distance that you drive. It helps to make riding in the car an enjoyable experience. Go for a ride to the park or to visit a doggie friend!
Try to make sure that not every trip in the car with your dog ends up with a visit to your vet clinic.
If the vomiting still seems to be an issue, it may be car sickness or motion sickness. To avoid a potential mess, it is best to withhold food from your dog at least 3-4 hours prior to going in the car. There are medications that can be prescribed if this is the case.
Always contact your vet if you have concerns of questions.