The second subject we’d like to touch upon in our Happy Vet Visits series is desensitizing your pet to their carrier. Unfortunately, many pets only associate their pet carrier with going to the vet, resulting in your pet fleeing when she sees her carrier. Here are a few tips on making your pet’s carrier a welcome sanctuary:

  • Keep the carrier out at all times. If this is not possible, try taking out the carrier at least a few days prior to your pet’s veterinary appointment. Always keep the carrier’s door open so your pet can enter and exit as she pleases.
  • Make the carrier a comfy safe zone. Furnish your pet’s carrier with soft bedding, toys and treats. The key is to make your pet’s carrier so appealing that she enters on her own.
  • Spritz calming pheromones on the bedding inside your pet’s carrier. Cats enjoy Feliway and dogs love Adaptil. Using these pheromones will increase your pet’s chance of entering their carrier on their own free will.
  • Invest in a hard-sided carrier. These sturdy carriers are extremely safe and eliminate the chance of injury should a heavy object fall against it.
  • Make sure the carrier has adequate ventilation. Ideal carriers will have openings on all three sides.
  • Invest in a carrier with a removable top. Once your pet associates her carrier as a “safe place”, examinations can easily performed inside the carrier if she prefers. This can reduce your pet’s anxiety during her physical exam.

Next time you schedule your pet’s check-up, considering trying out these helpful tips. Even if your pet is not due to see the vet, it’s best to try these tips early on. The more time your pet has to associate her carrier as a safe zone, the easier it will be to place her in the carrier when it’s time to visit the vet!