Albany Blog

Tips for a positive experience at the vets

By September 9, 2022No Comments

Going to the vets can be stressful. Smells, sounds and surroundings can be overwhelming and being prodded and poked, particularly when you’re not feeling well is never going to be fun! We don’t want your trips to be a negative experience for you or your pet; hopefully these tips will help make life easier!


  • Appointment timing – aim to arrange a mutually convenient appointment. If your cat is always around first thing in the morning, this might be a good time for you. If you think your dog will feel calmer after an afternoon walk, why not incorporate this into your vet visit? Although not possible for urgent appointments, it’s worth thinking about your pet’s habits when arranging a routine appointment.

  • In the waiting room – turn your cat’s carrier to face you, or the wall, to give them privacy particularly from any interested dogs! If your dog is anxious around others, it is often possible to arrange a quiet space for you in which to wait, or you may choose to wait outside.

  • Stress relievers – Pheromones are chemical messages used by animals to convey messages to one another. Synthetic pheromones replicate this natural behaviour to produce a calming effect. Plug-in diffusers are suitable for use in the home, whilst tablets or sprays are handy whilst on the go. There are options for cats and dogs.

For dogs  

At home, get your dog used to having their ears, mouth and paws handled from as early an age as possible. This will help when it comes time for them needing examination by a vet or if ear or eye drops are prescribed for your dog and you need to be able to apply them at home.

A visit to your vet clinic just for treats and a fuss! We don’t want your dog to think that every time they visit, something unpleasant is going to happen. To create a positive association, call in to let your dog have a sniff around reception, some attention (if they like it) and a treat. This is best done, by prior arrangement, at quieter times when clinics aren’t running.

Do not use force to get your dog to cooperate, instead use encouragement and reward.

Praise and treat when your dog appears calm and relaxed. High value treats are a winner, something your dog loves (remember to watch those waistlines!)

For cats

To promote positive association, if possible, leave your cat’s carrier out around your home and make it cosy. Keep it clean and check it regularly for signs of wear and tear; it should be sturdy and escape proof and ideally plastic or wire. Reward your cat with a treat or a fuss when they choose to go near the carrier. If you only bring out the carrier when it’s time for a trip to the vets, you may find yourself needing to retrieve your cat from behind the sofa whilst trying to get to your appointment!

A top opening carrier makes it far easier to gently lift your cat in/out, rather than trying to reach through a narrow opening to a pet who has crammed herself right into the furthest point!

Line the carrier with a blanket/towel/pad – this will provide comfort and will help to absorb any accidents.

Spray a blanket with pheromone spray and place it over your cat’s carrier to provide privacy.

Use one carrier per cat, even best friends might not appreciate being confined together when stressed.

Try to make the journey to the vets as stress-free as possible; acclimatising to the car with short journeys can help this. Always use a seatbelt to secure the carrier in place and drive at a steady, consistent speed.

Carry the carrier horizontally, avoiding knocks or swinging motion.