Saturday, January 1, 2011

Help Your Pet Like The Vet

Did you get that new pet for Christmas?  It's time to get your new puppy or kitten into the veterinary hospital to start it's vaccine series.  This is a crucial time in the training of your new pet.  Annual visits to the veterinarian can be made fun and easy by following some simple tips.

Teach your puppy to feel like the animal hospital is the "cookie place"  by bringing lots of tasty treats.  Every time puppy does something brave, obedient, or just to help reduce the anxiety of being in a new place, praise and reward him to reinforce that good behavior.  The veterinarians here at Belle City know how important first impressions can be on our newest little patients.  You may notice that, during your puppy's exam and as vaccines are being administered, the best distraction is a crumbled-up treat in front of your puppy.  This keeps puppy's mind off of what the doctor is doing and focused on the tasty treat.

Not every visit has to be about seeing a doctor.  If you have a growing puppy, bring him in once a month for a weight check or when you come to pick up food or medication.  The more he comes here and has a good time, the less afraid he will be in the future. 

We all know it's heartbreaking if our new puppies cry out when they get vaccines, but it is important not to reinforce that behavior.  By becoming emotional along with your already emotional puppy, you are teaching your puppy that every time the doctor touches her, she will get hurt.  The key is to act as if nothing happened: "oh my goodness...what was that?"

Going to the doctor can also be a socializing experience.  If many people touch and pet your puppy, she learns how much fun interaction can be.  HOWEVER, please remember that while you are in the hospital, there could be potentially contagious pets in the waiting room.  Always be careful when visiting!

Going to the veterinarian does not have to be a horrible experience.  If you start early with your puppy or kitten, you make the trip to the veterinarian just another fun outing to share with your pet.

Stephanie Severson, CVT

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