Vet visits are a necessary requirement to undertake for both you and your dog. Even if it’s only for routine check-ups and yearly vaccinations, a trip to the vet can be stressful for both of you. But it needn’t be that way, with some simple behaviour modifications and simply tips to remember, your dog can be anxiety free when they visit the vets.
Here are some steps you can take to make it easier for both of you.
- Be aware of your own mood. Dogs are incredibly sensitive animals and pick up on how you are feeling. On the day of the visit, it’s really important that you remain calm because your dog will pick up on any stress. Try and stick to your regular routine as much as possible to keep things consistent and calm.
- If you use a specific carrier or crate that only comes out for vet visits, make sure you leave it somewhere in the house prior to your visit so that your dog becomes familiar with it and won’t associate it with the stressful experience of the vets. If your dog isn’t used to being in the car, make sure you take several trips beforehand doing positive things like going for a walk in a new location.
- Have your dogs favourite treats to hand to reward him for his good behaviour and keep him distracted. The familiarity of the treat will also reassure him.
- If your dog gets nervous during any part of the vet visit, resist the urge to fuss over him as this will only encourage his nerves and reaffirm that there is something to be worried about!
- If possible take your dog to visit the vets before your actual appointment. Perhaps take him with you when you book the appointment to get used to the surroundings without any negative association.
- Make a list of any symptoms you may have noticed, from loss of appetite to lameness, restlessness, or anything else that seems out of the ordinary. Being prepared will help you get the most out of your vet visit.
- Think of any questions you have for the vet before you go to the appointment — and be sure to ask them. Keep your own record of booster injections so you know sure they’re all up to date.
Lastly, speak up if you don’t understand something. If your vet prescribes medication or a course of treatment, ask them to demonstrate the correct way to administer it if you are unsure.