Behavioural Tip of the Month

Monthly Behaviour Tip

Going to the vet for your pet’s annual vaccination can often be a difficult and anxiety provoked experience for both you and your pet. Do you have this issue yearly and wish it was easier and more enjoyable? Read on to find ways to help reduce the stress of the experience for your pet and in turn make it easier for you.

Your pet may become stressed visiting the veterinary clinic as they are in an unfamiliar environment, cannot control or predict what will happen to them and may be in pain. These bad experiences then often make the next visit even more difficult.

Signs that your dog is anxious may be more subtle than you realise.  Cowering, leaning away, holding head and tail low, tense body, trembling and looking away may be some obvious signs. However, you may miss the more subtle signs of lip licking, yawning, panting, salivating, sniffing and acting sleepy or distracted. Cats show fear through a tense body, lowered head and leaning backward, flat ears, twitching tail and sometimes hissing.

Your pet learns by association, so without actually telling him/her about their upcoming vet visit, your behaviour and body language prior to the appointment gives it all away. From the moment you book the appointment get your dog comfortable with travelling in the car by taking him/her for a few short, fun car rides to allow him/her to associate travelling in the car with no distressing destination. Similarly, get the cat carrier out to allow your cat to familiarise himself/herself with the carrier, place some food or his/her favourite toy inside to encourage investigating and going inside, in turn reducing the association of the carrier with a stressful car ride to the vet clinic.

Try to be relaxed as possible leading up to and during the visit to the vet, to help your pet to remain relaxed too. On the day of the appointment natural pheromone sprays can be used for both cats and dogs to assist in calming them. Restricting food prior to travel can help to reduce your pet feeling nauseous during the car ride and in turn reducing anxiety. Keep your pet happy by taking his/her favourite treats or toy with you, and place a blanket or towel over your cat’s carrier to reduce external stressors.

The best way to reduce your pet’s stress when visiting the vet clinic starts now. Make some fun visits to the vet clinic throughout the year for a treat and pat from the friendly staff, then head home again without any stressful experiences. This can help your dog to associate the vet clinic to good visits and not always pain and discomfort, in turn reducing anxiety for future necessary visits.



Veterinary Nurse Kirstie Hancock is qualified in animal behaviour with her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Society. She has lots of great tips and ideas when it comes to misbehaving pets. Keep an eye out for her monthly tips on our Facebook page. Also check out her own business Facebook page - Positive Paws.

Archived previous tips:

November 2018 blog article - Vaccinations & Parasite Control

October 2018 blog article - Cat behaviour

September 2018 blog article - Skin & allergies

August 2018 blog article - Dental Month

July 2018 blog article - Cat Obesity

June 2018 blog article - Winter time

May 2018 - Senior Pets / Eye Care

April 2018 - Endocrine Disease

March 2018 blog article - Easter camping

February 2018 blog article - Heart health

January 2018 blog article - Checking ears

November 2017 blog article - Vaccinations

September 2017 blog article - Itchy Skin

August 2017 blog article - Dental Month

July 2017 blog article - Desexing Myths

June 2017 blog article - Winter time

May 2017 blog article - Loose lead walking.

April 2017 blog article - Are you going camping this Easter?

March 2017 blog article - I don't understand

March 2017 blog article - Producing an A Pup!

February 2017 blog article - Our pets love us unconditionally!!

February 2017 blog article - Heart disease / Valentines Day

December 2016 blog article - Christmas

Pet care at Murray Bridge Veterinary Clinic for dogs and cats

 After Hours & Emergencies  08 8531 4000

Our comprehensive emergency service offers a veterinarian on call 24 hours every day of the year.

Telephone 0885 314 000 when the clinic is closed to hear a recorded message giving a phone number of the on call veterinarian.

Always phone first before rushing to the clinic with an injured animal or other emergency. An additional fee is charged outside normal clinic hours.