Trips to the vet are a necessary part of life for your dog. There’s no reason they have to be stressful! Although you can’t talk to your pet to explain what’s going to happen and why there are some things you can do to make vet visits easier for you and your dog.
1. Make Sure He’s Used to Being Touched
Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, you’ll want to make sure he’s comfortable with being touched. On a regular basis, look into your dog’s eyes and ears, look at his teeth, and inspect his paws. Pick up his feet and look in between the toes and touch each toenail. If there’s something he doesn’t want you to touch, slowly desensitize him to the experience and reward him with a treat. If at all possible, start doing this when your dog is very young so that he learns that being touched is no big deal.
2. Be Sympathetic
It’s important to understand why your dog might be scared at the vet. There are lots of people he doesn’t know, strange smells, other dogs around, not to mention being put up on an exam table and having strangers poke at him. Your dog may have trouble processing all these new things at once. It’s important that you stay calm and relaxed throughout the entire visit so that he understands that it’s no big deal.
3. Work Around Your Dog’s Nervousness
Some dogs get anxious the second you walk through the door at the vet’s office. If your dog is one of them, consider waiting in your car until they can take you directly to the exam one. Sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of strange dogs, sounds, and smells could be increasing his stress and anxiety.
4. Don’t Forget the Treats
Most vet’s offices will have treats around, but if your dog has a favorite treat, be sure to bring some with you. Giving your dog some of his favorite treats during the visit can help to create a positive association with the experience. You might even delegate a really special type of treat to give only for trips to the vet or groomer.
5. Learn the Routine
It’s important for you to understand the whole routine of the checkup so that you can practice everything at home. If the doctor did something your dog really didn’t like, you can work on it at home, so the experience is more positive next time.
6. Stop Off at the Vet for a Treat
Whenever you get the chance, stop in at your vet’s office just to say hello and get a treat. It’s a great way to build up some positive feelings about the vet’s office. You could even practice getting on the scale while you’re there, as long as the office isn’t too busy.
Taking a proactive approach to your dog’s vet visit will help reduce stress and anxiety for both of you. That means a much more pleasant experience for everyone. Your dog and your vet will both appreciate it!