Recent research undertaken by Hill’s Pet Nutrition revealed that over 60% of South African pet parents believe that they are putting their fur babies at risk if they do not take them for their annual check-up. “Yet believing this and doing it is something completely different,” says Dr Guy Fyvie, Hill’s nutritional advisor. Trying to get our pets to the vet can be daunting for many of us and this is enough to even put off a much-needed visit unless it is absolutely necessary.
Dr Fyvie says that by putting off an annual vet check-up, we, unfortunately, put our pets at risk. A yearly check-up could make a lifetime’s difference because early detection of problems, means earlier intervention and in many cases a better prognosis and outcome. To help make the trip to the vet that much easier, Hill’s asked South African pet parents to share their best tips, some of the top ones were:
- Be sure to take your pet for regular trips in the car so that they get used to driving and not be filled with anxiety before even arriving at the vet.
- Taking something to comfort them such as a special toy or a blanket may help to ease some anxiety.
- If you are going to use a pet carrier, try to get them used to it long before your first visit. They need to feel comfortable and safe when they are being transported in a carrier, so keep it out at home and encourage them to go into the carrier, by putting their blankets or toys into it, even when you are not taking them anywhere.
In addition to the above Dr Fyvie has some further advice to help make visits to the vet for pet parents and their fur babies a less stressful experience:
- To avoid your cat or dog getting car sick, do not feed them for at least an hour before the trip.
- A top-loading carrier is ideal for cats, as the top easily comes off allowing for your cat to be placed inside and removed without too much resistance or stress.
- While in the waiting room, always remain in control of your dog, keep them on a leash or in a carrier (ideal for smaller dogs), give them physical attention and talk to them softly.
- Veterinarians are experienced in treating nervous and frightened pets, but nothing calms your pet more than seeing you and hearing your voice, so even while in the exam room knowing that your presence will comfort your pet.
- Reward their good behaviour with a small healthy treat and remember to praise them constantly.
Lastly, Dr Fyvie says that the more your pet visits the vet, the more comfortable they will become with the process. “So, make use of Hill’s special offer this winter and visit your vet for their annual check-up.” Pet parents can go to www.VisitTheVet.co.za and find out how to save up to R950 (terms and conditions apply) on their next vet visit.