Stress and Visiting the Vet During COVID

Stress and Visiting the Vet During COVID

Going to the Doctor or Veterinarian can be stressful for anyone and that includes our four-legged family members. That stress can be increased during these strange times dealing with COVID and all that comes with it.  In an effort to keep everyone safe, you may not be able to accompany your pet and be with them when they come for an exam or procedure. This can add to the stress of a visit for both pet and owner.

Helpful tips

  • Your pet knows how you feel about a given situation. Try to be as calm and positive about the experience as you can.
  • If your dog tends to be anxious, try taking them on a long walk or exercising them before your visit. The more tired they are, the less energy they will have to be anxious and the easier they will be able to relax. 
  • Have all documents and records sent or readily available before your arrival to make wait times shorter. The less time your pet has to anticipate and build up anxiety, the better their visit will go. Records can be sent to Northern Vet by email at

Good behavior outside the house starts with good behavior at home. You can help your pet’s stress level by getting them used to various things that may happen when they come for a vet visit. Most of these suggestions work best when started at a young age but it is never too late to work on it.

Recommendations for home training

  • Be sure to get them used to being handled and touched in places that you may not normally need to. For example: legs, toes, belly, tail, outside portion of ear canal, or lips.
  • Your dog may need to be restrained for procedures; this may be difficult for them to understand. Practice hugging them close to hold them in one spot for a short length of time. If you are able, gently lay them on their side for a time.  Let them go when they are relaxed and not struggling. This will teach them that it is not their choice, but yours, when the exercise is ended. 
  • Good socialization can also reduce the stress of being in a new place. If they have already met many new people, been to many new places, ridden in the car etc., the vet will become just another new place to explore and meet new people.
  • Establish a relationship with your vet BEFORE your pet is sick. Visit the vet early and often, and when your pet is feeling well. Feel free to call to see if staff is available to bring your pet in for attention, treats, or just to get a weight. Positive experiences when they are well will make reduce stress when coming to the vet when they are sick.

We love your pets and want the absolute best for them. We are here to help in any way we can and we want to make your visit go smoothly and with the least amount of stress possible for you and your pet. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help make you visit less stressful. Please call us at 218-444-5797 to schedule an appointment!

Essential Oils & Diffusers

Essential Oils & Diffusers

There are many posts floating around social media lately about essential oils and diffusers causing illness in pets. Many people turn to essential oils for health remedies, aromatherapy, and as a fragrant ingredient in cleaning solutions, laundry, etc. Though essentials oils may have a pleasing and beneficial effect on humans, it can be harmful to our pets. Oil diffusers have recently become popular for in home use which has led to veterinarians seeing more toxicity cases in pets. Diffusers release small particles of the oil into the air. The particles can be inhaled or ingested when they land on the pet and are licked off.

Some oils are more harmful than others. The concentration of the oil is a factor in the severity of toxicity. Higher concentrated oils are more irritating and cause more severe reaction or symptoms. The route of exposure (example: skin contact, ingestion, diffuser) also influences the level of toxicity. Cats tend to be more vulnerable especially due to their grooming habits. Smaller animals such as birds, pocket pets, and rabbits are extremely sensitive.

Symptoms may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Redness or burns on their lips, tongue, skin or gums
  • Panting
  • Coughing or Wheezing
  • Tremors
  • Ataxia- unsteady on feet, acting “drunk”
  • Low body temp
  • Slow heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


The course of treatment depends on the severity of the toxicity. In mild cases, a bath to remove the oils on the skin and coat may alleviate the symptoms. In severe cases, hospitalization with IV fluids and other supportive care may be required for many days. Your pet’s veterinarian may want to run blood work to check liver and kidney values.


  • Be aware of which oils can be harmful to pets.
  • Do not apply oils directly to your pet.
  • Keeps oils and diffusers stored where your pet cannot reach them.
  • Use diffusers in a designated space away from your pet.
  • Avoid oils altogether in pets with a history of breathing issues, seizures, kidney or liver disease.

Common Oils to Avoid

  • Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca)
  • Oil of Wintergreen
  • Oil of Sweet Birch
  • Citrus Oil (d-limonene)
  • Pine Oils
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Pennyroyal Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Anise
  • Thyme
  • Juniper
  • Yarrow
  • Oregano
  • Lavender
  • Garlic

If you believe your pet may have been exposed to toxic essential oils, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline. If oils have been ingested do not induce vomiting. With any poisoning, it is helpful to have the products packaging available to answer questions regarding ingredients and concentrations.