Does you dog drag you back to the car when he realizes he is at the vet? Does your dog shake, whine, drool, pant at the animal hospital? Do you dread taking your dog to the vet because it is so stressful?
Here are some ways to make your dog’s vet visit a happier, less stressful thing:
- Have your dog hungry! Using treats as a distractor at the vets can be very helpful, but if your pet just ate a huge meal before they came, they will be less interested in our treats.
- Bring your dog’s favorite treats or toy. We use LOTS our treats as rewards and distractors for our canine patients. We have lots of treats to offer, but sometimes dogs prefer their own treats. Or do they love a tennis ball-bring that along as well! Make sure you let us know if your dog has any food allergies too.
- Let the staff at your vet clinic know ahead of time your dog’s like and dislikes. Does your dog get scared around new dogs? The animal hospital may have a different entrance you can use to avoid other dogs. Or maybe they can let you and your dog hang out in the car (weather permitting!) until it is time to enter the exam room. Does your dog dislike having his feet handled or ears? Let us know-we may not be available to avoid it, but we may up the level of treats when we have to handle their feet or ears.
- Bring your dog for happy visits! Who can blame dogs for disliking the vet-everything they come we poke them with needles, put them on scary tables, and sometimes have to take them away from the comfort of their owners. Wouldn’t it be great if sometimes, they just came into the clinic to get a treat and a pet?
- Make sure your dog is used to riding in the car. If they are uncomfortable in the car, but the time they reach the vet they are already stressed. Take fun car rides where you go for walks, go to the park, or just enjoy a drive around. If your dog doesn’t like the car or gets car sick, talk to us about ways to help this!
- Find a veterinary clinic that believes in Fear Free visits. Clinics with certified Fear Free staff have had extra training and resources because they want to make your pet’s visit better! Some of the things they might recommend including using pheromones such as Adaptil to make your dog’s visit less stressful.
If you have a dog that doesn't like coming to the vet, talk to us about ways we can make it easier for your dog and yourself!
Boo Donoho, DVM