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How to have fear-free vet visits

Watch Vanessa explain ways that you can take the fear out of a trip to the vets.

Pets can find it very scary going to the vets. But there are lots of things you can do to reduce this fear and make them feel relaxed and comfortable.

The most important thing is - don't be a stranger to your vet’s practice. The more times they visit the practice, the more familiar it will be.

If you can take your pets to visit when they aren’t being treated, they will start to view it as simply a trip out.

For example, at White Cross Vets, we run puppy parties where young pups can come along to play with other puppies. Or if our clients are passing by, we invite them to pop in.

Whenever a pet visits, they get lots of kisses and cuddles at the practice. This helps calm them down, so they don’t see visiting us as a scary experience. Read more about how free Cuddle Clinics work at the bottom of this page.

What about if you have a cat?

With cats, you should start preparation well before your vet visit. Don’t just get the carrier out on the morning of the vet visit. If you have room, leave the carrier out up to a month before, so your cat can play and sleep in it.

Make their cat carrier as comfortable as possible, with blankets and toys.

Pheromones can help

Feliway spray contains pheromones which act as reassuring messages to your cat. As a consequence, they help calm your cat and control undesirable behaviour. Humans can't detect it but cats can. Use Feliway spray to spray the cat carrier, and the scent will have a calming effect. You can spray the carrier at home and in the vets waiting room.

Adaptil spray is a similar product but for dogs.

On the day of the visit

Leave plenty of time to get to the practice. Don’t rush. If you are stressed then your pet will get stressed. Keep your own anxiety in check as pet’s can pick up on this. Speak more slowly and soothingly to your pet and if possible add personal touches such as bringing your pet’s favourite toy and blanket.

Treats can be useful but avoid these if your pet might require an empty stomach for an anesthetic. You might also find that if you limit food beforehand, treats are more effective.

If your pet likes fresh air, waiting outside or staying in the car rather than in the vet’s waiting room can help reduce stress.

We also have separate dog and cat wards for in patients and we use pheromone diffusers throughout our waiting areas, consultation rooms and inpatient wards.

Meow-sic and Bach

Please excuse the terrible pun, however another important tip is playing music which has been scientifically designed to relieve stress in dogs and cats, we use these in our kennels and cat wards to sooth patients in recovery.

You can download stress relieving music and soundscape albums to chill your pets out - we use these in our practices.

Calming music for dogs:

Stress relieving music for cats

 

Case Study: From pet-rified to p-awsome

Nero now loves visiting his new friends at the vets

Sharon and Ann-Marie with Nero

We offer free Cuddle Clinics, where any owners that have anxious or frightened pets can come into our surgery for “Play Time”.  This enables the veterinary team, owners and the pet to create a trusting bond through regular fun visits.

We have had many pets that have benefitted greatly from our Cuddle Clinics, here’s the story of one such case; Nero, a 2 ½ year old German Shepherd.

Nero had a bad experience at his previous vets which meant he needed to be muzzled or even sedated to be examined by a vet. He was absolutely terrified at the thought of coming in to see us, which was proving too much for his owners as his annual booster was looming.

Kelly with NeroNero paid us a visit once a week and at first he wouldn’t leave his mums side, but after only two visits he would let us play with his ball and feed him treats.  We could let him off his lead and let him walk around the whole practice.

Now when he comes in (sometimes even just to say hello), we can cuddle him and fuss him, which not only makes for a happy pooch, but a happy mum & dad too.

He has successfully had his annual booster and even his kennel cough vaccine and always has a cuddle and a handshake every time he visits.

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White Cross Vets, Birmingham – Kings Heath

283 Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6EB

White Cross Vets, Bradford – Eccleshill

266 Harrogate Road, Eccleshill, Bradford BD2 3RH

White Cross Vets, Derby – Alvaston

1238 London Road, Alvaston, Derby, DE24 8QP

White Cross Vets, Dudley – Tividale

194 Regent Road, Tividale, Oldbury, B69 1SB

White Cross Vets, Leeds – Guiseley

8 Bradford Road, Guiseley, Leeds LS20 8NH

White Cross Vets, Leeds – Roundhay

31 Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 1BW

White Cross Vets, Liverpool – Gateacre

33 Gateacre Park Drive, Gateacre, Liverpool L25 1PD

White Cross Vets, Liverpool – West Derby

200-202 Muirhead Avenue, West Derby, Liverpool, L13 0BA

White Cross Vets, Manchester – Walkden

Mayfield Avenue, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester M28 3JF

White Cross Vets, Middlesbrough – Coulby Newham

White Cross Vets, The Parkway Centre, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough TS8 0TJ

White Cross Vets, Northampton

The Boulevard, Weston Favell Shopping Centre, Northampton, NN3 8JP

White Cross Vets, Redcar

Unit 3 West Dyke Road Retail Park, Redcar TS10 2AA

White Cross Vets, St Helens

2-3 Millfields Court, Millfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens WA10 5RG

White Cross Vets, Walsall – Bloxwich

110 Leamore Lane, Bloxwich, Walsall WS2 7BU

White Cross Vets, Widnes

Fir Park, Queensbury Way, Widnes WA8 9BD

White Cross Vets, Wolstanton

High Street, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 0EW

White Cross Vets, Wolverhampton

333A Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV4 5QF

Select your practice

White Cross Vets, Birmingham – Kings Heath

283 Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6EB

White Cross Vets, Bradford – Eccleshill

266 Harrogate Road, Eccleshill, Bradford BD2 3RH

White Cross Vets, Derby – Alvaston

1238 London Road, Alvaston, Derby, DE24 8QP

White Cross Vets, Dudley – Tividale

194 Regent Road, Tividale, Oldbury, B69 1SB

White Cross Vets, Leeds – Guiseley

8 Bradford Road, Guiseley, Leeds LS20 8NH

White Cross Vets, Leeds – Roundhay

31 Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 1BW

White Cross Vets, Liverpool – Gateacre

33 Gateacre Park Drive, Gateacre, Liverpool L25 1PD

White Cross Vets, Liverpool – West Derby

200-202 Muirhead Avenue, West Derby, Liverpool, L13 0BA

White Cross Vets, Manchester – Walkden

Mayfield Avenue, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester M28 3JF

White Cross Vets, Middlesbrough – Coulby Newham

White Cross Vets, The Parkway Centre, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough TS8 0TJ

White Cross Vets, Northampton

The Boulevard, Weston Favell Shopping Centre, Northampton, NN3 8JP

White Cross Vets, Redcar

Unit 3 West Dyke Road Retail Park, Redcar TS10 2AA

White Cross Vets, St Helens

2-3 Millfields Court, Millfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens WA10 5RG

White Cross Vets, Walsall – Bloxwich

110 Leamore Lane, Bloxwich, Walsall WS2 7BU

White Cross Vets, Widnes

Fir Park, Queensbury Way, Widnes WA8 9BD

White Cross Vets, Wolstanton

High Street, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 0EW

White Cross Vets, Wolverhampton

333A Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV4 5QF