Handling Your Pet
“Dr. C, I give my dog and cat plenty of attention! Why do you ask me to “handle” them more?”
In this case, we don’t mean just pets on the back of the head and belly scratches. We mean physically touching certain part of of your dog’s and/or cat’s bodies to get them used to being touched – i.e. handling your pet!
How does this help my pet?
Handling your pet ensures that they are able to be vaccinated, examined, and administered treatments with less stress to them (and to you!). If something happens and your pet needs treatment, handling when they are healthy will help them tolerate treatments when they do not feel well.
Handling your pet allows you to be familiar with how your pet normally feels so that you may more quickly notice when something is wrong.
We recommend that all owners practice handling their pet on a routine basis. This means that you:
- Play with their feet, ears, belly and tail.
- Open their mouth and look at their teeth.
- Look at their face and their eyes.
- Rub your pet’s body and legs. You can practice gently rolling your pet onto their side or back.
Remember that your pet should always be supported and handling should be gentle and safe to help your pet feel relaxed.
The more areas that you are comfortable touching, and your pet is comfortable having you touch, the better it will be for you and your pet in the long run. Handle your pet!