March 8 2018
Visiting your veterinarian is essential to
keeping your dog healthy and happy, and it is an important part of being a
responsible pet owner. However, a routine checkup can sometimes be distressing
to our canine companions.
When you consider what a vet visit entails,
you can begin to appreciate why your dog may become so overwhelmed and
(sometimes) hard to control. Not only will he encounter dozens of new smells,
but he may also hear barking dogs, meowing cats and strange voices. He may be
handled by vet staff in unfamiliar ways that could add to his apprehension.
Help your dog feel
more relaxed and even enjoy his vet visits by following these tips:
- Take the dog to the vet clinic for brief
visits prior to your appointment. Introduce him to the clinic when it's quiet
to get him used to the smells and sounds of the new environment so it won't be
entirely strange to him when you actually go for the exam. Let him meet the
wonderful people who work there; have the staff give him a treat and place him
on a scale; and allow him to sniff the exam room. A few visits like this will
help him to associate the vet clinic with a positive experience.
- At home, during quiet times, you can help your
dog become comfortable with being handled for a medical examination. Gently pat
him on different areas of his body while he is in a relaxed state. Mimic how
the vet will examine your dog-touch around his eyes and ears, gently hold his
feet and toes (which also helps alleviate his fear of nail clipping), lift his
lips and touch his teeth, gently move his legs, etc. Take your time with this
kind of touch, and do it often so that it becomes an agreeable experience for
your dog both at home and at the vet.
- Some dogs never go anywhere in the car except
to the vet. Thus, a dog may begin to associate a car ride with visiting the vet
and may begin to worry the moment you put him in the car. To prevent this
anxiety, do some practice drives. Take him somewhere fun, so he learns that a
ride in the car can end in a pleasurable destination.Exercise your dog before the vet visit. A
tired dog is more relaxed and easier to manage.
Throughout the visit, stay relaxed and
unconcerned. Your dog can sense your feelings, and you need to remain calm so
he can feel calm. Remember, your dog looks to you for his safety and security.
Keep your pet on a short lead while in the
waiting area, and maintain control of him throughout your visit to avoid any
stress, injury or altercations with other pets. If he shows any signs of
aggression toward dogs or humans, be sure to have him muzzled for everyone's
If you have a small dog, take him into the
clinic in his carrier. He'll feel more comfortable being in his familiar space,
with his blanket, toys, etc.
After the vet visit, take your dog somewhere
fun to play and to reward him.
Your veterinarian and clinic staff will also
appreciate you taking the time to ensure your dog is calm and comfortable
during his visit.