Ensuring your pet is in tip-top health is one of the most important things you’ll need to do as a dog owner. Naturally, this will involve visiting the dreaded veterinarian at least once a year for regular check-ups, and a couple more times if your pet’s feeling under the weather. This can be quite challenging with many dogs, as even the mention of the word “vet” could get some mutts really stressed out.
It’s not an irrational fear. Your pet feels the same way about visiting the vet as you do about visiting the dentist; but at least you understand the necessity while your dog doesn’t. All your pooch knows is that visiting that strange place results in them getting pricked, poked and prodded in places they don’t like for no particular reason.
Unfortunately, taking your pet to the veterinarian is just something that can’t be avoided if you’re a pet owner. There are a few things you can do, however, to make the event less dreadful for both yourself and your beloved pet.
Preparing Your Dog For A Vet Visit
Here’re a couple of tips to make veterinarian appointments less nerve-racking:
Ensure Your Dog Is Socialised
Part of the reason why your dog gets anxious when it’s time to visit the clinic is because they’re not used to being around other people. Putting a dog that is not well socialised in a situation where they’re being handled by strangers, away from you, can elicit fear, or worse; trigger aggressive behaviour. Even for dogs who normally behave well, stressful situations can often bring out their bad side.
Socialise your pooch early on by introducing them to new people as well as new situations regularly. This way he’ll learn to trust strangers which will make it less likely for him to act with aggression when at the vet’s office.
Get Your Dog To Relax
Older dogs that have already been to the vet a couple of times might have already developed a negative attitude towards the vet, which could make it a little bit more difficult to get them to relax when it’s time to go back. A simple touching exercise can, however, reduce vet-anxiety for both new and repeat customers.
Begin by gently touching your dog’s paws, mouth, and ears while ensuring that he stays calm. Just like you would when training your dog to do tricks, give praise and treats to reward positive responses so that your dog learns that touch can be a good experience. This way they’ll be less likely to turn aggressive when a stranger touches them.
Exercise Your Dog Before The Visit
If your dog is not suffering from a condition that limits mobility, then exercising them prior to the vet’s visit can help them dissipate excess energy and make them calmer. Walk around the park with your pet companion or play a game of fetch to get your dog less anxious about the visit to the veterinary.
Give Your Vet’s Office Prior Warning
If your dog still doesn’t get along well with other people and dogs, even after efforts to socialise them, the behaviour can become amplified in the stressful situation of a vet’s visit.
To keep things under control during the clinic visit, give the staff prior notice so that they’re ready for any unpleasantries. You can stay outside to avoid other patients until it’s your turn to see the vet. This way your dog will be less anxious as he’ll spend less time in the strange environment.
Taking your dog to the vet can be a stressful undertaking for pet owners too. But you’ll need to maintain a calm and relaxed demeanour as dogs are known to pick up on the emotions of their owners, and often mimic them.
Being at ease in the lead up to seeing a vet assures your dog that everything’s fine and keeps them calm. Remain positive even when you’re feeling a bit worried for the well-being of your pet.
While taking your pet to the vet can sometimes be an unpleasant event for both you and your furry companion, you shouldn’t put it off as you could risk missing painful health problems that can be treated. With a bit of preparation, understanding, and tact, you can make visits to the vet a lot easier on everyone.