How to make vet visits more enjoyable for your dog

November 4th, 2013
Posted by | Posted in Health and Nutrition 1,836 views

vetVisiting the vet can be a stressful time for both you and your dog. Going into an unfamiliar place filled with new people and the scent of other animals can be exhausting, and sometimes even make the best behaved dog act out. There are a few things that you can do on vet days to make the experience more enjoyable for your dog – and for yourself.

Pre Visit

  • Don’t break routine. Unless you have to withhold food or water per instructions, don’t change your dog’s routine in the days leading up to the visit. Any changes can add stress to the dog’s life, which is what you’re trying to avoid.

At the Office

  • Bring comfort objects. Small things like a favorite toy, collar or even a blanket will make your dog feel at ease while in the waiting and examining rooms. Having things that they are familiar with around them will help to keep them calm.

  • Carry treats. Even though the vet may discourage you feeding your dog treats while he’s being examined, having them on hand is a good idea, especially if he starts acting up or is frightened.

Going Home

  • Reward good behavior. Although breaking routine before a vet visit could cause stress, having a special reward prepared for your dog after the fact is another story. A new toy, a trip to the park, or even a brand new bone are greats ways to begin helping your dog associate a trip to the vet with a positive outcome.

  • Make a list. Knowing what caused anxiety throughout the visit will help keep from repeating the action. If another dog set yours off, choose a secluded part of the waiting room. If it was the car ride, make it a point to take your dog on more car trips between visits. Your dog’s behavior can only be changed by you, so be proactive.

Think about it – you don’t like going to the doctor’s office, especially if you know you have to get shots or a procedure done. The difference between you and your pet is that you can rationally prepare for the visit – they can’t. Dogs deal with stress in different ways, so the important thing to remember is that you need to make them feel as if their experience, no matter what it is, will always end on a positive note. Aside from treats, other positive reinforcements before, during and after a vet visit include:

  • Verbal praise

  • Extra playtime

  • A special meal or addition to their normal meal

For your dog, going to the vet shouldn’t be a traumatizing experience. Following a few simple tips can make the day much more relaxed for everyone involved – including the vet and clinic staff. Examining or even checking in an agitated dog is difficult, as it could take extra time and effort. Avoiding this type of experience is a good way to ensure that every additional vet visit is a very relaxed and enjoyable one.

~ Written by Brett Packer.  Brett has owned and operated At Home Veterinary Care since 1997. He is an avid dog lover and enjoys helping other people’s pets achieve the best health possible.

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