LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Taking your pet to the vet is no fun, or easy, task. But regular visits, even when your furry friend isn't sick, are crucial for the animal's health. Here are five tips to ease your pet's anxiety from Good Housekeeping.
1. Handle with care - Dogs and cats have sensitive areas on their bodies, especially their ears, paws and tummies, which is why pets need to get accustomed to being handled. Try giving your pet a treat or toy while picking up its paw. You want your pet to develop a positive association with being handled, making it easier for the vet to examine the animal.
2. Create a cozy crate - Encourage your pet to spend time in its carrier even if you aren't leaving the house. Treat the crate as furniture, setting it up in your pet's favorite spot in the house. Keep the door open and adorn the crate with soft bedding, toys, and treats to entice your pet.
3. Make an appointment to play - If the only time you saw the doctor were to get a shot, you'd be scared too! Try going to the vet for supervised playtime. Your pets will associate the vet's environment with a place where they receive love. Although many vets allow this type of visit, check with the office first.
4. Be a "Chatty Cathy" - No pet owner will call you crazy for talking to your pet, especially when you're at the vet. After all, this may do your pet some good. Talking to your pets in a calming voice can help relax them.
5. A sure-fire treat - Unless your pet is acclimated to the vet's office, many animals are too scared to eat there. The trick? Warm a hot dog or tuna right before you leave the house, which will help release scent molecules and make the food hard to resist, even by a nervous animal.
Want more tips to help ease your pet's anxiety? Check out the full list from Good Housekeeping: 9 Ways to Make Vet Visits Easier