We’re months into Covid-19. That’s a fact no one needs repeated. But we just recently read that the inability of pet parents to stay with their animals at the vet during lockdown is causing additional stress on pets. And it got us thinking… We know vet visits can be stressful on a regular day, but add in the element of Covid and that stress compounds.
Veterinarians have to keep themselves and their patients safe, just like everyone else. There is very little we can do about that. So, how can we reduce the stress, both for our animals and ourselves? If we can’t be with them to hold their paws while a relative stranger pokes and prods, is there anything we could be doing to help our animals cope, to reduce those feelings of anxiety and make a vet visit more comfortable?
How to Take Your Pet to the Vet During Lockdown
If you have to take your animal to the vet during lockdown, whether for a routine checkup, a non-emergency procedure, or for an emergency, there are many different things you can do to bring down those stress levels.
This is a list of some of those things. Some or all of these things can bring about the zen that will make the vet visit much easier to handle.
- Ask if all, or any part, of the exam can be done in the car. Some vets will allow it with proper social distancing, so it is worth the inquiry. This way, you can stick with them for part, if not all, of the visit.
- If your animal goes to the vet in a carrier, make sure you put something with your scent on it in with them. Anything that reminds them of you being near them is what they really need at a time like this. Those pheromones can help calm them down. Organic terrycloth or organic cotton are the best materials to transfer those pheromones.
- CBD can work wonders for reducing anxiety and stress in our pets naturally. This is good for a routine checkup. Just give your pet’s regular dose about 20-30 minutes before the visit. With CBD though, just be overly cautious. Perhaps skip it if your animal is having surgery. If you’re at all concerned, speak to your vet before you give it.
- Homeopathy can be a miracle for both the physical and emotional trauma of a vet visit. Aconite and arnica prior to will help with both, and can also help with fear. Another beauty of homeopathy is that it won’t interfere with any other drugs, so it’s safe no matter what the visit is for. Our Go-2 is a blend of the two, and giving a dose an hour before, and just before leaving (as well as another dose 2 hours later) is the way to go.
- Flower essences are another great natural calming remedy. Our favourite is Bach Rescue Remedy. It’s a combination of 5 Bach Flower Remedies that can help your pet deal with stressful situations. Simply add 4 drops to your pet’s food, water bowl, or on a treat. Repeat as needed.
- If possible, take a walk, play some brain games, or do something fun before the vet to help settle your pet and have them in a calm state.
Other Important Tips
Because you may not be able to talk with the vet during the visit, or because everything is done over the phone, make sure you ask all the questions you need to, read the paperwork fully, and verbalize your concerns, wants and needs clearly before your pet enters the clinic:
- Make it clear that you do not consent to any procedures you’re not aware of – for example, vaccines or drugs. Make it clear that your consent must be obtained before anything not listed on the initial visit form can be done.
- Ask for a consult with the veterinarian after the visit to go through any concerns you have, to go over any bloodwork done, or for details on the full diagnosis.
Manage Your Own Stress
Going to the vet during lockdown is undeniably more stressful for our animals, but it’s also stressful for us as pet parents. Our job is to protect our fur babies, and that means being with them to comfort them in stressful situations. When we can’t do that, it can mess with our emotions, putting us on edge or causing our own stress levels to skyrocket.
STAY CALM! We can’t stress the importance of this enough.
Our animals can sense our emotions, so if mom or dad is stressed, our animals are going to wonder why. Cue the alarm bells for them. That’s not what they need.
If you know that visit will stress you out, make sure you take the steps to manage your own anxieties. To be honest, even if you don’t think the vet visit will be stressful for you, it’s still a good idea. Sometimes the stress catches us off guard, or is virtually undetectable for us but clear to our pets.
To keep yourself grounded:
- Meditate and do some deep breathing exercises beforehand to recenter yourself
- Do some yoga to find your balance
- Those same homeopathic remedies that will help your pet find a calm mindset will also work for you. The same goes for the Rescue Remedy and the CBD oil.
- Ask those questions we mentioned earlier to ease your mind and soothe any worries you might have.
- Bring a calming herbal tea to sip on in the car while you wait, and listen to some relaxing music.