Saturday, March 5, 2011

How to have a successfull Vet visit

Inevitably at one point or the other a pet owner will be faced with a need to consult some sort of professional to entrust their pets health and well being.

   How cooperative your pet is during such consultation is important. 

Think back to the last time you were in a doctors office, whether for your self or for a loved one like a child. The scene is typical there are the loud children running around climbing over chairs and being over all rude.  There are the ones speaking loudly on their phones and then there's the rest of us just trying to get through the experience as quickly and as painlessly as possible. 

   Well the same can be expected from a veterinary visit the question is who will you be the one with the out of control pet or the well behaved pup sitting quietly awaiting to be seen.

  The smells the sounds even the feeling of the floor tiles can be new and scary to your pet.  Add on to that the possibility of discomfort caused by a health problem and you have a combination for a usually stable pet to act out of character. You may find your self in friendly chatter while you wait but this is not the place to take a chance and let your pet socialize.   A usually friendly dog can snap quickly under such a stressful situation.  Plus you don't know what the other animal is in for and you don't want to take a chance at your pet catching something like ear mites. 

   The vet visit doesn't have to be a stressful experience if you take the steps to prepare your pet for the experience and the examination from the day they enter your home.

   Expose your pet to different sounds and smells and teach them to stay calm when introduced to new experiences by not giving attention to a restless dog.  Dogs are not comforted by your petting and cooing when they are scared, what you are doing is reassuring them there is a need to panic. 

  Think like a dog. 

   We walk on two feet and for the most part these feet are deprived of most sensory exposure by being in shoes or socks.   So we are not often affected by the ground below us, not enough to keep us from exploring new locations based on the ground texture.  Yet most of our pets (theres always the stylish pooch in designer booties)  walk barefoot.  So our Dogs are on their four paws constantly receiving messages from their exposed paws.  Tile and linoleum floors are no where near natural to a dog and if they have long nails it will feel even stranger and may lead to them not feeling comfortable in the vets office. 

     If your dog displays strong dislike for such floors try having a practice run where you expose your pet for short periods of times to such flooring.  It may not seem like a big deal to you but these animals experience the world very differently to us.  

  Next are the sounds and smells.  All those chemicals can seem scary but if you remain calm and assertive your pet will understand there is no need to be alarmed and will associate the smells and sounds of this new environment with your calmness.  Bringing treats to offer a tasty bribe is never a bad idea.  

 The most important part of the visit is the examination, if your animal isn't comfortable during the physical exam it will affect how well your vet   will be able to render a diagnosis.  

  If you accustom your pet to being touched in the areas where your vet often checks they will not give it a second thought when being handled at the vet.  As young as possible touch your pets ears, snout, tail, paws underbelly and under paw pads and offer rewards when they stay calm.  This will help them think that being handled in those areas by your vet is OK.  This will also be helpful for when you take you pet for any kind of grooming. 

  The most important element is ...You.  You are who your pet looks to when they need to be reassured.  If you remain calm and comfortable your pet will trust your judgement and remain calm.  This behavior and bond is not learned at the office it is learned at home every day in everything you do. 

  Remember to discuss any questions on you pets nutrition with your vet.  Voice your concerns and ask about the importance of balanced nutrition.  Now remember to remain the owner of your pets health and investigate even the food that your vet will recommend.  We all know that human doctors stand to win compensation for recommending a certain brand of prescriptions over an other, the same is true for the veterinary world and often times the vet will recommend a brand that is not particularly the best but rather what they may be in contract to mention.  The point is own your pets health and inform your self and always read the labels. 

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