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Why Are Animals Scared Of The Vet?

November 1, 2021


Is your pet afraid of going to the vet? Well, this is a common situations for all pets. When you try to enter the vet's office, most of them tend to cower and tuck their tails.

Although it may be impossible to make your pet a fan of vet visits,  you can still minimise their associated fear with the phrase “time to go to the vet”. In this article, we’ve some methods that could help minimize the anxiety of your dog at the sight of the vet.

Let’s find out why animals fear going to the vet!

Why Do Animals Fear the Vet?

The following are the most common reasons animals develop a fear of going to the veterinarian:

   1. Unpleasant experiences

One of the common reasons why animals feel anxious when taken to a vet is if they had had a bad experience in that past. Generally,  pets tend to feel very insecure when they are sick and when if their past experiences about visiting a vet have been unpleasant, they may feel uncomfortable.

The way you react to your pet, particularly when you take them to a vet, can also affect their state of mind when going to the vet. There are certain cues that your pet can pick up to tell them that you are worried and there’s something to be stressed about.

If your dogs have associated pain to your veterinarian's place, perhaps, they have gone through neuter/spay/other surgeries at the same clinic before, they may feel scared.

   2. Unfamiliar environment

Your pet can become anxious when introduced to a new environment.  They may feel cowed from the new scents and meeting new animals at the veterinarian. Besides, the vet's place is not their comfort zone and this can make them feel insecure.

   3. Inability to understand “better for them”

Animals only find themselves in the vet's place, they don't have the consciousness of why they are there. So, this ignorance of the benefit of being there creates fear in them.

      4. Separation anxiety

Leaving your pet alone or separating them from you can make them feel anxious.

During treatment, pets will be separated from the pet owner temporarily (depending on the severity of the condition) which may result in separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety in animals can increase their stress and lead to undesirable behaviors such as destructive behavior,  inappropriate elimination,  trying to escape,  excessive barking, etc. This point comes together with the point of association of vet clinics with the uncomfortable sensation of having to separate from the owner.

     5. Forced engagements

If your dog is not used to muzzle, they may get scared when a vet tries to use one on them. Although it is for their own good, forcing them to do something against their will which can trigger anxiety.

     6. Sense of fear: Pheromones

A Pheromone is a chemical secreted by an animal that affects the behavior of other members of the same species. Fear pheromones can be detected from other animals at the vet, which is then interpreted by your pet that something fearful is present in the clinic, could trigger a fear response in your pet.

It should also be good to note that fear pheromone from other pets comes from their fear of past experiences which is discussed earlier in the content.

How can you reduce your pet’s fear of the vet

There are different ways through which you can minimize the anxiety that your pet has for the vet. These include :

      Increasing the number of visits

Taking your pets to visit the vet from time to time is a great way to help reduce their fear. There’s a misconception that you only take your pet to the vet when its sick. You should make it a point to bring your pet for regular health check-up. With this, the environment will become familiar to the pet, thereby erasing their experience of pain associated with the clinic. This will also help to keep your pet’s physical health in check.


      Overcoming fear Pheromones

An effective way to curb fear of pheromones is by intercepting it with another pheromone to reassure the pet.  Here are some recommended products that can do the trick!

   • Feliway Spray Bottle for Cats 60ml: This product can provide comfort and reassurance for cats that feel stress.

   • Adaptil Spray Bottle 60ml: This product can help treat and prevent fear and stress-related behaviors.


      Desensitization of fear factor objects

You should try to observe and know what triggers the fear in them during vet-visit after observing that the pets are emitting fear response.

It is also important that you expose them to the objects that trigger the behavior, provided that it is safe for your pets. For instance, if your pet’s feared object is an injection syringe, please do not inject your dog unless it's advised by your vet.

Moreover, try to reward your pet with a treat or even a new toy each time they show an improved response to the object.

In conclusion, its important to bring your pets to the vet for treatment or regular check-ups. It’s also crucial that we minimise the anxiety level experienced by our pets when they visit the vet.

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