NORFOLK, Va. — What’s one thing that both pets and pet owners dread? Vet visits.

Sometimes it takes looking at it in another perspective to understand why pets freak out.

We met with Sydney Warner, an ABCDT.

“When you think about it from our pet’s perspective we are actually asking our pets to be ok with hurting them and getting in their face and in their space when they can’t really communicate otherwise,” according to Sydney.

Wouldn’t you be scared too?

Today we are going to try and help you make that trip a bit less stressful.

“Low-stress vet visits start at home, they don’t even start at the vet office,” said Sydney.

Starting at home there are a lot of things that we can do to help ease the anxiety of a pending vet visit.

First off we need to recognize the point at which our pet becomes stressed. For some if not most the stress is triggered by the car ride.

“The dog is already anxious or in distress, so we have to focus on calm and relax, we have to focus on enrichment, teaching the dogs the behaviors that we want to see from them and reward those but also help them feel good, positive about these things,” Sydney said.

Acknowledging and addressing this stresser can be a big step forward in rebranding a vet visit as a positive thing.

“Once at the vet office, this is where it really benefits to have a vet who is staying up to date on behavior information,” Sydney said.

For many dogs, the association of a visit with pain and discomfort can be a formidable obstacle to overcome but it is possible.

“It can be very difficult for dogs that already have negative association with the vet office that is where someone like me comes in where we have to work in rebuilding the relationship so that they are happy and comfortable seeing the vet.”

Sydney said that again working on certain things at home can help.

“Seeing a stethoscope, not even touching it, just seeing it. Are you comfortable with that? Are you comfortable with me touching your ears? Are you comfortable with me touching your hips? Touching your feet, your toes. Toenails are a big thing. Teaching your dog to offer their paws for nail trims,” Sydney explains.

Practicing and preparing can save both you and your animal from a long and stressful visit to the vet’s office.

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