So you just got a pet and you’re preparing for your first vet visit! For many pets, a trip to the vet can be an extremely traumatic experience causing lots of anxiety; unfortunately the reason for this is often unknown other than simple fear of the unknown.   As a caring pet owner, you can’t just avoid the vet as that would put your pet’s health in jeopardy!  But there are some helpful steps you can take to ease your pet’s stress and make the appointment go as smoothly as possible.

1)    Avoid peak hours
Peak hours can vary depending on the day and clinic, however; most veterinary clinics are the busiest early in the morning and in the late afternoon-evening and on weekends.  You may be tempted to schedule your pet’s appointments during these times because they’re convenient.  But this can increase an animal’s stress level due to the crowdedness and other animals that will be around.    If possible, arrange your appointments for a less popular time.  You can even ask an employee at the clinic to figure out a day when there aren’t very many appointments booked!

2)    Bring treats
Dogs and cats love their treats and they are more likely to be obedient towards you if you have a reward.  You can guide your pet’s interest away from whatever chaos is going on around them by offering them treats.  You don't have to bring treats everytime, but consider it for the first vet visit, make it a special trip for your pet!

3)    Familiarize your pet 
If you go to a local clinic that is within walking or quick driving distance, it is possible for you to drop by the office casually to get your pet acquainted with the area.  You should first explain your situation to the staff, though, so they know what you are doing when you come in.  By doing this, the next check-up your pet has will go much more smoothly.

4)    Stay calm 
Pets can often sense their owner’s emotions.  If you are feeling anxious, fearful or sad, it is likely that your pet will to.  Keep this in mind when preparing for the appointment.

By following these steps and taking the necessary precautions, your dog or cat might actually enjoy their first vet visit.  Don’t ever give up—if you’ve tried everything and your pet is still having problems, talk to the veterinarian about other options to help him/her stay calm.  Some animals actually need tranquilizers before going to the vet.  It sounds frightening, but it’s not uncommon.  Be confident that your pet will have successful veterinary visits!