Do you dread taking your dog to the vet? When the day arrives for the annual visit to the vet, does your dog become stressed out when you get there? This experience often is just as stressful for us too, so taking your dog to the vet should be a fun experience. What can you do to change a bad experience (and their association of bad = vet)?
There are a few things one can do to try and make this visit a little bit more pleasurable for both of you.
1. Start at a young age. Get your pet used to the environment and smells of the vet. Let them get to know the people, sights, smells and sounds so that they get to enjoy being there.
2. Let your dog get used to being touched. Stroke their tummy, open their ears and mouth and make them used to you touching their paws. These are all the things a vet will do when they need to examine the dog every time he arrives for his visit. You might also place a muzzle on them every now and again, to make them used to it just in case it will be needed.
3. Pop into the vet for a fun visit. This is a great way to allow them to see that visiting the vet is not just about prodding and injections. Tell the vet your intentions, they will love it and probably share a treat with them to help you make it a fun experience for them.
4. Reward your pet with a fun experience or a game just after your visit to the vet. Not all pets enjoy treats as rewards when they are too stressed out. Give them a toy or something fun to associate with and they will learn to calm down and hopefully look forward to the next time you take them to the vet.
5. Try helping your dog to be calm the natural way:
- Upon arrival at the vet, sit and do tricks with your pet. Keep them busy with commands and treats.
- Give your dog a nice massage while waiting for the vet
- Wear an anxiety wrap to the vet. These wraps are great for any environment that could stress your dog out, like loud noises coming from thunder or fireworks.
6. If all else fails, speak to your vet about a sedative. These are best in situations where your dog’s health or injury could worsen with a visit to the vet.
And finally, your pets are generally highly sensative to your emotions, and if you feel anxious, the chances are that they will pick up on this and start to feel the same too. Prepare yourself as much as you are going to prepare your pet for a visit to the vet, and staying calm during the whole process will help both of you for the visit to the vet.