Keep Cool and Stay Calm: Vet Vists

Bringing your pet to the veterinarian can be a stressful activity sometimes. It doesn’t have to be that way though! There are things that can be done prior to leaving your house or on the way to the clinic that can help keep you and your pet calm and makes the visit to the veterinarian less stressful for everyone involved.


Cats are interesting creatures that have their own ways of doing things. It is normal for cats to be nervous when they are out of their normal surroundings. They are solitary and highly predatory creatures after all! That is why it is best to put cats in a carrier and not carry them into the clinic in your arms. It helps them feel safe and secure. Now getting them to like the carrier is another thing! Fear not though, it can be done.

  • First, you have to get them used to the carrier. Get a carrier that the top can come off and then put the carrier in a common place like the living room and leave it there. Put catnip in it, let them play in it. Feed the cats in the carrier. Keep in mind, if they stop eating because the food is in the carrier then take the food out and start with just a few treats inside the carrier and work your way up to it. Reward them going in the carrier with treats and some lovings!
  • There is a calming product called Feliway. It can help immensely in getting cats to be calm in their carrier. It comes in wipes, sprays and diffusers. You could wipe the inside of the carrier or spray the blanket inside the carrier with it to help them stay calm on the way to the clinic.
  • Put a t-shirt or a blanket that has your scent in it. That can help make them feel safe when they have your familiar scent around.
  • Putting a blanket around the kennel can help because it keeps them warm and decreases visual stimulation.
  • Holding the kennel from the bottom instead of the handle keeps it more stable.
  • Do some practice runs! Take the cat out to the car inside the kennel (That has the top back on it!) and bring the cat back inside.
  • Practice and don’t lose hope, your cat will thank you for it! Secretly though because you know cats don’t like to show their appreciation too much otherwise you may come to expect it all the time!
  • There is a great video on how to get your cats in a carrier at catalystcouncil.org/resources/health_welfare/cat_carrier_video/index.aspx



Dogs tend to be easier than cats but there are still things that help make the trip to the vet an easier time instead of a struggle. We don’t want them to be anxious and stressed about coming in to see us, we want it to be as good of an experience as possible for everyone involved.

  • If you have the time, burning some energy with a dog walk before coming to the clinic can be beneficial in keeping them calm and they will be more likely to listen to your direction.
  • Thundershirts aren’t just for thunderstorms! You can use them to help keep your dog calm!
  • There is also a calming product for dogs called Adaptil. It comes in collars, sprays and diffusers. Spray a shirt or bandana, put on the collar, whichever works best for your pet.
  • If they don’t tend to get carsick, you could give them a treat filled kong in the car on the way to the clinic.
  • Does your dog have any certain triggers for stress? Call ahead and let us know!
  • Bring your dog in on a leash (Or a kennel if they are small). It’s much safer and less stressful for everyone that way. A short leash is best to keep them under control in a busy, unfamiliar environment. The vet’s office and waiting room can be quite busy and sometimes other pets are nervous and would like to be left alone. Let’s try to make everyone’s visit as stress free as possible!


Both Cats and Dogs:

  • Pop in every so often just to get on the scale and get some treats and cuddles! It helps the pets to not think that every time they see us here at the clinic we are going to do something they don’t like.
  • “Examine” them at home. Even better, start as puppies and kittens! Look at their teeth, touch their toes, feel their bellies, lift their tails, check their ears. Getting them used to being handled. These are all things a vet will do so having them used to it before coming to see the vet will help them not be so nervous and unwilling to co-operate. They don’t know we are doing these things in their best interest!
  • Listen to calming classical music or species specific music on the way to the clinic. Calm sounds will help drown out outside noise and keeps them worry free.
  • Don’t baby talk them on the way to the clinic! Remember, they take their cues from you so if you are saying “Don’t worry, it’s going to be okay” or something like that they are going to wonder what is going on and be on edge. Helping them be calm means you have to be confident and calm.
  • Bring pets in hungry unless medically contraindicated. Bring in their favourite, smelliest treats! If coming to the vet means special yummy treats then that’s a great thing!
  • Bring along a t-shirt or blanket with your scent on it. It can help calm and de-stress the pet.
  • If you know your pet gets stressed in the waiting room, call from your car and check in and wait in your car with your pet until the room is ready for you.


We want you and your pet to have the most enjoyable, stress free visit possible. Following these simple tips will help you and your pets stay calm and be confident enough to come into the clinic for everyday wellness care.

Written by Jill Thiessen, Clinic Manager 

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My Dental Cleaning by Carrots the Clinic Cat

I recently had my check-up with Dr. B, and he mentioned that I have a lot of tartar on my teeth and something called a resorptive lesion. I had been noticing that my mouth wasn’t feeling so clean, and it did hurt when I ate my kibble. Dr. B recommended that I have my teeth cleaned, and they would remove the bad teeth at the same time so that I wouldn’t be in any more pain. I was pretty nervous as it was my first time, but I see the staff here do it almost every day, so I figured I could be brave for one day. I asked the Techs to take pictures during my dental so that I could show you all that happens, and hopefully, you wouldn’t be so nervous if you need a Dental too! The first part was the worst part. The girls forgot to give me dinner the night before my procedure and then they didn’t give me breakfast either! I tried to explain to them, but they said it wasn’t safe to eat before you go under anesthetic. My stomach was saying otherwise, but the girls wanted to make sure my dental cleaning was as safe as possible. This is why they did blood work on me a couple of days before my procedure, as well. They started by giving me an injection in my hind leg to make me feel a bit sleepy, and it also offers some pain control. They let me relax for a little bit in a kennel before they brought me out to the dental table. My front leg was shaved, and a catheter was put into my vein. The clippers tickled, and the catheter poke wasn’t too bad, but then they put a whole bunch of tape on my leg to keep it in place. The tape was the worst part because I knew they’d be ripping it off later! The tech then checked my vitals to make sure everything was good. She then told me I was going to feel sleepy. She gave me an injection through the catheter in my front leg. Boy was she right, sleepy I got! I tried to keep my eyes open, but they just kept getting heavier and heavier. Now what happened next is a bit foggy, but I went into a nice deep sleep. During my sleep, the tech placed an endotracheal tube into my trachea (orange tube in the photo). This was to ensure I could breathe the entire time and so that water and debris couldn’t go into my lungs. The tube is hooked up to oxygen and a gas anesthetic to make sure I stay asleep for the entire procedure, as well. She also put gauze in the back of my throat for extra protection. She then cleaned my teeth with an ultrasonic scaler. It makes a high pitched noise, so I was glad I was under so I couldn’t hear it. My teeth were cleaned above and below the gum line. Apparently, tartar can build up down there too. The tech told me it’s similar to when she goes to the dentist, but she’s allowed to stay awake since she doesn’t bite the dental hygienist. I’m sure there are some humans that do bite, though! Then the tech looked closely at all my teeth and wrote down anything important on my chart. She also put a probe down between my gums and each tooth to ensure there aren’t any large pockets that could cause me issues. Big pockets are great spots for bacteria and tartar to hide, and I sure don’t want any of those anymore. Luckily I didn’t have any fractured or broken teeth and no big pockets. They did find two teeth that were resorptive lesions. These were the culprits causing me some discomfort, so they had to be extracted. Dr. B asked the girls to x-ray these teeth to see how much damage there was underneath the gum line so that he would know how to remove them. We recently upgraded to digital dental x-rays, and I was lucky to be one of the first to test it out. You can see in the photo my x-ray on the laptop. The roots of those teeth were all eaten away, so Dr. B did a crown amputation. He told me that it means just the top of the tooth that you can see is removed as almost all of the tooth below the gums were gone. He then sutured the extraction sites closed so that they would heal well and to prevent food and debris (from me grooming myself) from going inside and causing an infection. Once Dr. B was done, the tech double-checked that everything was nice and clean. She then polished my teeth with a minty paste. She didn’t let me pick my flavour of polish, but we don’t have fish flavoured anyways. She then put on fluoride that had to sit on my teeth for a bit and then it was all wiped off. The tech made sure that she wiped off all of the fluoride as it isn’t safe for me to swallow when I woke up. This is why pets have special toothpaste, and we can’t share with you humans. Once all the fluoride was wiped off my teeth, the tech made sure the gauze was out of my throat, and everything looked good. It was now time for me to wake up. They turn off the anesthetic gas so that I am just breathing oxygen, and I slowly came around. They don’t take out the endotracheal tube until I am awake enough to breathe on my own safely. This was when I started to remember again what happened. I woke up with a minty fresh mouth, but I was very confused. The girls tried to assure me that everything went well and that I was safe in their arms, but I was too confused. So, of course, I tried to wiggle about and figure things out for myself. Don’t they know I’m an independent cat? The tech held me safe until I was a little more with it even with my protest. I have to admit I was feeling the drugs for quite a while. They made sure I could walk and jump well before I was allowed to free roam the clinic again that night. They also made me a bunch of nice cozy beds on the floor around the clinic so that I wouldn’t have to jump up on anything, which was good because I was still feeling a bit off all night. For the next couple of days, the girls gave me a pain medication, which I hate to admit was delicious. I pretended that I was upset getting it, but boy was it chicken flavoured delight, and I made sure to lick every last drop off of my lips. Hopefully, by knowing what the process is, it will help you feel a bit less nervous about your dental cleaning, and if your humans have any questions about Dental cleanings or preventative measures, the staff here are always willing to discuss them.

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