Does going to the vet cause you and your dog anxiety? Is it a tug of war that leaves you embarrassed and your dog hiding in a corner for the rest of the day? Or maybe it’s just not one of your favorite outings? Whatever the case, there are ways to make the next visit to the vet a better experience for you and your four-legged friend.
- Spend as little time as possible in the waiting area. The smells, sounds, and presence of other animals can be a trigger for fear, anxiety, or even aggression in dogs. If you know your pet doesn’t do well in the waiting room, ask the receptionist whether you can remain in the car until it’s your turn to go in.
- Limit the dog’s food intake before going to the vet. If the appointment is around mealtime, just give a snack beforehand. A dog that’s a bit hungry will respond better to treats from the vet or treats you may take along.
- Keep yourself, and your dog, calm. It’s important that you remain calm on your way to, and while you’re at the vet. Don’t make a big issue when driving to the appointment, your dog will pick up an apprehensive feeling. Use a leash, harness or crate that the pet is used to and doesn’t associate with bad experiences.
- Is the exam table a source of anxiety? An exam table can be an alien place for your pet and if it’s possible, it may be better if the examination takes place on a floor with a non-slip surface.
- Keep the dog comfortable during the examination. Try and determine the best position to hold and control your dog, but still enables the vet to exam it. Once you’ve determined the dog’s most comfortable position, keep it in mind for future visits.
- Keep procedures as painless as possible. From a microchip implant to drawing blood and injections, some are going to hurt a bit, but it’s important to minimize the pain and discomfort for the animal. Soothing words and treats can be used to distract the dog.
- When sedation is an option. Sedation may the best option for some procedures (cleaning teeth or clipping nails) as well as for stressed or aggressive animals. And of course, sedation is the obvious answer when a painful procedure is involved.
Finally, choose a vet you and your dog are comfortable with. If you don’t feel comfortable and relaxed with your vet, you can be sure your dog wouldn’t be either. It’s going to be a fairly long relationship, and you may need his or her help at crucial stages in the future. So ask around and do some research, you owe it to yourself and your four-legged friend.
1Salomi is a contributing blogger ,dog lover and avid learner ,you can see more of her articles on her <a href=”http://dogasapet.weebly.com”>website</a>