How to create a friendlier veterinary visit

Put pets at ease by making visits fear-free.
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Oct 01, 2013

It seems we're all pressed for time these days—especially in the exam room—but it pays to take time to put both pets and owners at ease.

Examining pets that are anxious or fearful can give inaccurate medical results (pain hidden, diagnostic results skewed) and could result in a bite. Those are all reasons enough to "make friends first," but there's an even bigger reason: Fear and anxiety cause permanent damage to the pet's brain. Here are some tips to make visits fear-free:

1. If the carrier isn't out all the time, then get it out a couple of weeks before the scheduled visit and place treats and toys inside.

2. Infuse the carrier bedding with pheromones.

3. Don't feed the pet after 6 p.m. the night before so they respond better to food rewards at the hospital.

4. Don't baby-talk the pet, don't apologize for taking them and remain upbeat.

Remember: A more relaxed pet means a more relaxed client, and that means the client will be more receptive to your best advice on the care a pet needs.

Dr. Marty Becker is a practicing veterinarian, popular speaker and author of more than 22 top-selling books. He is the resident veterinarian on Good Morning America, a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show and the lead veterinary contributor to http://VetStreet.com/.