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Albuquerque VetCo

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Tips for Preparing Your Pet For a Trip to the Vet

preparing pets for the vetWe all want our pets to be healthy and hate the idea that they may have to go to the vet for anything other than a routine check-up and vaccinations. However there may come a time when your pet needs some sort of medical examination, and even during the routine exams your pet will have its ears, eyes, nose and possible rear end examined, which may lead to your pet being fearful of the vet.

Doctors and Nurses

Do you remember playing doctors and nurses when you were a child?  Pretending to prod and probe just the way you had seen on TV or with your own GP, somehow made a real visit to the doctor less frightening.  It is this desensitization that zoo keepers use on wild animals to assist the veterinarian when they have to examine a gorilla for example. There are instances where a zoo keeper has spent months training a gorilla to sit with its back to the cage and have its back scratched. For the animal this was a gentle grooming by the keeper with a banana treat at the end. For the zoo keeper and the veterinarian it was a way of training the gorilla who suffered from eczema to behave in a way that allowed a sample of skin to be scraped and taken for testing without having to first to anaesthetise the animal. How does this help with a domestic pet?

Desensitization 

If we assume you have a young pet, puppy or kitten, or any pet for that matter, then you can start immediately by ‘playing’ doctors and nurses’ or rather ‘playing Veterinarians’ with your pet as part of your daily grooming routine. Checking ears and skin should be part of your routine anyway to ensure there are no ear mites’, lice or fleas, but what about paws? Cats in particular can be less than keen to have their paws touched, so as part of your cuddles, take a paw and gently stroke it, lay the cat (or dog) on its side and have a look at the pads, interspersing the pretend  examination with a tummy rub or a chin scratch. Make it fun, but more importantly, make it normal. The earlier you start this, the more compliant your pet will be as they will see it as part of their normal handling.

If you have an older pet, then more care should be taken because the likes and dislikes when it comes to being touched will already be established. It may help to use treats when your dog or cat allows you to touch a paw without objection. As with any pet training your patience is crucial to success.

Ensuring your pet will be compliant with an examination by your vet may result in your pet just sitting on the table rather than being held down by you or the veterinary nurse against their will which is far less stressful for you and your pet.