If the only trips you took in your car were to the emergency room or a terrifying haunted house, you probably wouldn’t like your car very much. Your pets may feel the same way. If the experience is always scary, uncomfortable, and stressful, then naturally your cat or dog will put up a fuss when the carrier comes out or they’re asked to get into the car.

The best way to make trips easier is to condition your pet – show him slowly over time that the thing he is afraid of is actually a good thing. Start by spending time in or around the car or carrier playing, relaxing calmly, and enjoying some teeny, yummy treats. Keep these sessions short at first — only a few minutes — and then extend a bit each day. Encourage your pet to get into the carrier by tossing treats inside. When they’re ready, see if you can carry them just around the house, or just out to the street.

One thing to remember: Don’t start the process the week your pet is due for a checkup. Plan ahead and try to devote some time each day to training. The idea is to always keep things positive and take it slow. It may seem like a lot of time to spend, but this is one investment of your time that will pay off for you and your furry friend.

What happens when you get to the veterinary hospital matters, too. Both Westfield Veterinary Group locations are certified Fear Free, meaning we use a variety of strategies and tactics to promote fear-free visits. These include how our team members handle pets, the layout of our hospital, the use of pheromones and soothing music, and other methods that have been scientifically proven to give your pet a better experience — and make a positive impact on their health and well-being.