Before taking in a dog, you need to remember that it’s a huge responsibility. Food, toys, vet visits it all costs money. If you have set your mind on it, think about what breed you would like to buy/adopt. If you are not sure, you can look for information on the internet for example, try Ultimate Home Life Guide. After getting your pet, remember to visit the vet office for all necessary check ups and documentation.
However, if you are already a dog owner, you know that vet visits are stressful and traumatizing not only for your dog, but also for you. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the fear of going to the vet is one of the most common phobias among dogs.
Dogs, just like people don’t like going to the doctor. They are thrown into a new environment, where some stranger is touching them in places they don’t like and using tools they’ve never seen before.
Start with journey
If your dog is not used to going by car, don’t take him there with it. It will only scare him more and add to his anxiety. Instead, walk him there dogs usually associate walks with something positive.
However, if it’s necessary for you to use a car to go to the vet, try, for example, calming music. There are some CDs that have music specially made to keep dogs calm. Make him comfortable, and travel with him in a way that will keep him the most relaxed.
Get your dog used to the vet
A veterinary exam is a new experience for your dog. He is being touched in places he is not comfortable with, so he might react in an aggressive way. The best you can do in this situation is to prepare him for it start touching him more often so that he will get used to the feeling. Get other people to do it too ask your family and friends. The more people your dog will tolerate doing it, the better for future visits.
If you can, pop up to the clinic once in a while, even if it’s for a simple “hello”. Oh, and don’t forget to bring treats with yourself. Give some of them to the staff, so that they can give it to your dog. He will not only get used to the people there, but also will associate going there with something positive.
Teach him simple commands
There are five basic commands sit, heel, down, stay and leave it. Consider teaching them your dog. Since a veterinary exam requires for him to lay down on a table, doing it by himself will definitely be better for him than being forced to do it by strangers.
Bring toys and treats
A good idea is to use chew toys while being in the waiting room. It will help your dog to relax. Also, bring a lot of treats. Don’t hesitate to give him the treats during the examination, and remind him that he is doing a great job.
You can also use treats as a way to get your dog used to touch. While handling his paws, mouth and ears, give him a treat for good behaviour.
Find a vet who makes house calls
In some cases, it’s better to ask the vet to come to you instead of going to him. Some dogs get too anxious, and it’s impossible for them to handle a visit to the clinic. Try calling the vets in the neighbourhood, at least one of them should be able to perform a home visit.
However, just because the doctor will come to the house, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do anything to prepare your dog. Even though it’s a home visit, it’s still a visit! Your dog has to get used to the vet just as if he was going to the clinic.
Calm yourself down
Dogs are very empathetic and sensitive. They can feel your emotions. If you are going to be nervous or stressed, your pet will feel it, and it will definitely not help his already high anxiety. No matter what the reaction of your dog, you need to stay calm.
Don’t forget to encourage your dog by telling him what a good job he is doing but also don’t be “too” positive. If every five seconds you will hug your dog and tell him everything is going to be okay, it might suspect that something is definitely not fine.
The key to making your dog less scared during vet exams is to make him associate the vet’s office with something good, positive. Get him used to it. When you go for a visit, bring some toys and treats. And remain calm!