It’s easy to say, but how about doing it? The fact is our pets have true instinct. Seeing the pet carrier is enough to scare them and make them run away. Dogs and cats are rarely happy when they sniff a visit to that part that lurks injections, thermometers and hair clippers.
To tell you the truth, it is easier for dogs to get into the car, with or without a carrier. Cats, which in general are not fond of traveling, that is another story, quite difficult.
Whether the “patient” is a doggy or a puss in boots, there are ways and tactics to make your life easier and visits to the vet less stressful.
——–Do not worry——–
This is the first and most basic rule in order for “mission veterinarian” to be accomplished. It’s your mental state. Just relax! Imagine that everything will go well! If you are stressed, if you have bad memories from past visits, if for any reason you feel negative, your pet will understand it and get stressed.
——–Getting familiar with the pet carrier—–
Many dogs travel to the vet without having to go into the carrier. However, some dogs and cats should ALL use it. So it is very important that your pet gets familiar with the carrier. Do not hide it in the loft or the cellar.
Put it in a corner of your yard, in a hallway, next to the pet’s favorite ‘hangout spot’. Somewhere it can see and smell it every day. Especially cats, there’s no way for them to skip it and not try to “make it their own”. When you see them relaxed in the carrier, close it for about three seconds and reopen the door. Very soon you will be able to keep the door closed without your pet feeling trapped and anxious.
Puppies can become familiar with visits to the vet and with the carrier very simply, it is sufficient to connect it with pleasant experiences.
Put your dog in the car –in the carrier or not- and go for a walk to your favorite park or to play at the beach. Next time, go to the veterinarian without having any reason to do so (vaccine or something else). Just stay there for five minutes, give the dog a treat and return home. If you have more than one dog this is good idea, whenever you need a vet. One of them will get a vaccine the other will come just for a walk and they’ll both get a treat.
——–My cat from hell!——–
The method changes when talking about kittens that unlike dogs, do not like at all going away from their “territory”. You have to realize it finally. Our cats will never enjoy the visit to the vet; we’re never going to fool them with walks or treats. The “battle” will be judged by how you enter these felines into the cat carrier. That’s because even if the cat is accustomed to it, the moment that she will understand that you are about to put her in the carrier despite her will, she’ll surely get frustrated.
The right way can save you a furious chase in the most unlikely places in the house and several scratches on your hands.
1. Never try to put the cat in the carrier with her head up front .
2. Place the cage upright, with the door opened on top.
3. Hold the cat with both your hands from the armpits -make sure she faces you so she cannot see the carrier- and with fast but stable motion put the kitten in the cage with the back feet first . In a nutshell, do not put the kitten in the carrier, but “wear” the kitten the carrier as if it was a skirt! Close the door, get the car started and go!
If your kitty is young and not too heavy, you alternative is to hold her by the skin at the back of the neck and put her in the cage.
——–Empty stomach and smells——–
Both with puppies and with kittens, do not forget to lay into the carrier their favorite blanket/ towel/ pillow that is filled with familiar smells. Your pet then can lie down or stand comfortably upright without slipping. Be sure not to feed your dog or cat before visiting the vet. This is how you significantly reduce the chance of dizziness and vomit in the car.
In very difficult cases there is always science. Only after advice of a veterinarian, you can give your pet a sedative (never ever sedative for humans) before visiting. There are also some mild sedatives in the form of sprays that can help your pet calm down. Spray their blanket or pillow. It can help a lot.