Take your dog to the vet for unscheduled “happy visits,” when he or she can get a treat and have a good experience. “Our community clinic offers that and hardly anyone does it,” said Melissa Bain, associate professor of clinical animal behavior. “If you can have 100 good experiences and one bad one, [the good] helps balance it out.”
Get your cat comfortable with the carrier before it’s time to visit the vet by leaving it out and offering treats and toys around it.
Save your pet’s favorite treats for visits to the vet. Bain suggests canned, squirt-on cheese, which stays clean and can be eaten by dogs and cats.
Tell your vet if you think your pet is uncomfortable so the vet can take extra time and care.
If you’re worried your pet may become aggressive, muzzle him or her before entering the vet’s office. “It’s not a stigma—we muzzle pets a lot,” Bain said. “It’s not a big deal.”