Image Steps to ease your pet’s anxiety for their next visit to the vet

Steps to ease your pet’s anxiety for their next visit to the vet

For some pets (and their owners), a trip to the vet can be daunting; conjuring up a mixture of emotions, from feeling anxious and nervous, to stressed. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

In this blog, we’ve put together some top tips to ease your pet’s anxiety, so your next trip is as calm and stress-free as possible:

Before your vet visit

Get your pet comfortable with being handled

A good place to start is getting your pet used to being handled, so it doesn’t come as a shock at their appointment.

It’s worth performing mock examinations at home, inspecting their paws, teeth and ears on a daily basis. As well as touching their legs, head, chest and lifting their tail. Giving them a massage and lots of positive reinforcement can help to make it an enjoyable experience.

Once your pet is comfortable with you handling them, ask family members or friends to do the same, to help them get used to different people.

Gradually introduce the crate

If you’ll be using a crate to transport your pet to the vets, start introducing them to it early on to minimise any anxiety.

Leave the crate in a safe place, like your living room or bedroom, with the door open and toys or treats inside, so your pet can enter the crate freely.

It may take days or weeks until they are comfortable and confident to enter willingly. Make sure it is a positive experience, so don’t force them into the crate, or leave it until the day of the vet’s visit.

Take regular car journeys

Try to take your pet out in the car to visit different locations, so they don’t just associate getting in the car with a trip to the vets.

Routine trips to the vet

To make the trip to the vets easier, it’s beneficial to familiarise your pet with the setting – from the smells, to the experience of being with other animals and staff. A good way to do this is to attend regularly for non-invasive, routine check-ups, like getting your pet weighed. You can even ask your local St Kitts practice if you can pop in to get your pet used to the environment, when it’s not too busy.

Book your appointment for a quiet time of day

If your pet is particularly anxious and it worsens around other animals or humans, it’s a good idea to try and book your appointment for a quieter time of day. It will also mean less waiting time, which will help to reduce stress levels.

On the day of your visit

Bring treats

It’s good to come armed with plenty of your pet’s favourite treats to reward calm behaviour. This positive reinforcement works best after they’ve had their checks and treatments, but can be given for entering the crate willingly, being well-behaved on the journey and waiting nicely, to help alleviate any stress from the situation.

Keep calm

Your pet can pick up on any anxious behaviour, so keeping your body language and voice calm will help to reassure your pet.

Try to avoid stressful situations too; leaving plenty of time to get to your appointment is a simple way to reduce stress on the day.

Provide comfort

Packing a toy, their usual blanket or bed, will provide a familiar smell of home, which can be soothing for your pet, especially if they are having a longer stay.

Take a distraction

Bringing your pet’s favourite toy can help to distract them during the appointment, especially if they are having a procedure done, like a temperature check.

Wait outside or in the car

If your pet finds being at the vets stressful, turn it into a positive experience by taking them outside to play and have fun together – just ask to be called when it’s your turn.

Having distance from other anxious animals will help to keep your pet calm, so instead of waiting inside for your pet’s prescription or medication, head outside to play again and keep the experience positive.

You can book an appointment online for your local St Kitts practice or, alternatively, give one of our branches a call to speak with the team.

St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image 10 facts you might not know about rabbits

10 facts you might not know about rabbits

With their long ears, fluffy tails and adorable hopping, rabbits make wonderful pets and remain a firm favourite amongst families. However, they’re pretty complex creatures and there is so much to learn about them, so we’re sharing some facts about rabbits that you might not know below.

Fact 1: They need company

Getting your rabbit a friend is one of the best things you can do to make their life a happy and fulfilled one. They’re extremely sociable animals, often living in big groups in the wild, and thrive with the company they keep. The best combination is often a neutered male and neutered female.

Fact 2: They can live for up to 12 years

Many well-looked after rabbits can live for 8-12 years, making them great long-term companions.

Fact 3: Their teeth never stop growing

Rabbit teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, and should be worn down by chewing on grasses, wildflowers and vegetables so they don’t get too long.

Fact 4: Baby rabbits are born with their eyes shut

Once their eyes do open, they have almost 360-degree vision thanks to the structure of their eyes and placement on the skull, meaning they can be very difficult to sneak up on.

Fact 5: They can’t sweat or pant

Without the ability to sweat or pant, rabbits are at high risk of heatstroke. Wild rabbits regulate body heat by staying in burrows on warm days, only emerging when the temperature drops. To help keep your rabbits comfortable, make sure they always have places to stay cool.

Signs of heatstroke include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Hot ears
  • Fast breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Uncoordinated
  • Seizures
  • Blood from mouth and nose

If you think your rabbit is experiencing heat stroke, contact your local vet right away.

Fact 6: Carrots aren’t that good for them

Bugs Bunny has some explaining to do! Rabbits mainly eat hay and/or grass, along with small, measured amounts of leafy greens and pellets. Surprising to many people, root vegetables and fruit aren’t a natural part of their diet, as many are high in sugar and should only be fed in small amounts as occasional treats.

Fact 7: They’re most active at dawn and dusk

Rabbits are crepuscular, which simply means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. They love a good snooze during the day, which leads many people to wrongly assume they’re nocturnal, but if you check on your furry friend at sunset you’ll probably find that they’re in the mood to play!

Fact 8: They ‘binky’ to express happiness

If your rabbit is leaping or hopping and performing twists and kicks in mid-air, it’s known as ‘binkying’ and happens when they feel really happy or excited.

Fact 9: Their ears come in handy

A rabbit’s ears serve two key functions. The first – and most obvious – is to help them monitor their environment and detect predators. Domestic breeds can rotate their ears 180 degrees, which means they’re able to pinpoint the exact location a sound is coming from. The second function is to help them regulate their temperature, using the ear’s large surface to prevent heat stroke and hypothermia.

Fact 10: They drink a lot

Rabbits need access to plenty of fresh water at all times and will often drink more than a dog that is 5 times their size. It helps to keep everything moving in the gut, flush out excess calcium and keep their bodies healthy in general.

For more advice on your rabbit, or for any other concerns you may have, please get in touch with your local St Kitts practice.

St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799