As practice shows, nobody enjoys visiting a doctor, and dogs are not the exception. That is the reason why the experience of visiting the vet clinic may be stressful for both you and your pet, and even the most happy-go-lucky dog will be trembling like a leaf while going to the veterinarian, during the health examination, and after that.
That is why the new concept has emerged in veterinary medicine over recent years: Fear Free™ veterinary visits. Familiarized by Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” this concept often applies to veterinary centers, but you can also use some of the concepts to reduce fear in your dog yourself.
However, there are some steps that allow you to help your pet with this issue. We have prepared some tips to relieve the stress of this unpleasant visit, which you have to know before going to the vet clinic.
#1 Make Sure Your Pet Has a Positive Association with the Clinic
Throughout the year, whenever you’re passing through the vet clinic with your dog, make a little stop to come to the office. Bring your dog in for some snuggles and treats, because, in such a way you will break the association of the vet’s office with stress, needle pokes, and temperature checks.
#2 Warm Up Before the Appointment
Physical activity is a well-known recommendation to help manage all kinds of dog behavioral issues. Ana that works! Exercise increases your dog’s feeling of happiness and health and warming them up before a veterinary check-up can help them to keep calm in the clinic. Go for a long walk or play in the park for some time, or do any activity your dog likes the most. In case if they’re going to the vet for an illness or injury and can’t handle hard exercise, try something else on the list.
#3 Hugs as a Treatment
One of the most effective methods to reduce stress is to get your dog as relaxed as possible. Before leaving the house, it’s the perfect time for giving it a belly rub and petting it. Make sure to focus on her ears, lips, and belly because these are areas the Vet will often need to touch, and that’s why it’s important to the dog to be comfortable with someone touching it there.
#4 Let the Pet Get Used to the Harness or Carrier
According to psychology researches, stress starts at home. So let your dog adjust to the method used for taking it to the doctor, for instance, help your pet get used to the car trips. The carrier can be used while playing, eating, or sleeping regularly, also you can put the favorite toy for the better emotions of a dog.
#5 Encourage Your Dog with Some Treats
Before visiting a clinic, just bring your dog hungrily, and don’t forget about its favorite treats: this can work. During the checkup procedure, encourage your pet with some treats so that it understands that this place is not as bad as expected.
#6 Practice Examinations at Home
Spend some time checking its ears, restraining it, looking at its teeth, and holding its paws. In such a way, your pet will get used to those health examinations so that it will be less stressful to bear that in the vet clinic.
Another way out is to find a veterinarian who makes house calls. The familiar surrounding will come in handy for your dog.
#7 Don’t Fret About Your Dog
Researcher Petra Edwards, a Ph.D. candidate with the University of Adelaide’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, discovered that owners with dogs, who are afraid of their vet may avoid taking them frequently for check-ups, or wait until a health issue is severe.
Remember, that your dog trusts you and senses all the emotions of its owner, so keep calm while bringing her to the vet clinic. Do your best not to wear your emotions on your sleeve. Your dog will take cues from you and be on high alert. For instance, do not baby-talk to your pet only in case you’re going to the vet, it will feel all the emotions and the sense of fear might be even worse.
#8 Reduce Stress After the Veterinary Visit
Give your dog some time for the rest. It will be good if you stay in the same room, which will make your pet feel like it’s still part of the family. So, just read a book, watch TV or listen to music together, we are sure that this method may be a much-needed break for you as well.
#9 Follow the Aftercare Instructions Given by Your Veterinarian
The guideline recommended for your pet may also bring some ideas about how to reduce the stress of visiting the vet clinic or after certain medical procedures. Veterinarian’s suggestions and pieces of advice can even help your dog reach a speedy recovery, so take it into account.
#10 Medicate for Anxiety
Sometimes, though many people consider it a last resort, that’s the only way out to keep your pet calm. Believe us, it won’t be that harmful to the dog to be given certain kinds of medicines as to be left trembling like a leaf in an unknown place full of strangers with the unfamiliar smell.
#11 No Fight While Taking the Medicine
If your dog gives you a hard time when taking pills, don’t turn this into a big fight. Nowadays, there are a lot of treats you can hide pills in. Besides, there are some medications compounded with a yummy flavor. But before giving those to your per we highly recommend you ask the veterinarian for some advice.
#12 Everything Matters
Please, mind that it is not enough to be right there for your pet while visiting a veterinarian. It is extremely important to make all the necessary preparations to minimize the stressful feeling of your pet.
Firstly, always plan your visit to the veterinarian. As a good method of preparing, you can go to the clinic before the examination once or twice, which will make the current place familiar to your dog. Secondly, give him some time to adjust to the new place, let him smell everything, give some treat to eat, or take its favorite toy with you to distract him a little. The last but not the least piece of advice is to take care of her after visiting a pet clinic. Your task is to show that nothing has changed and pay attention to the love and care needed for your pet to feel itself safe.
To sum up, take care not only about your dog’s physical health but also to pay attention to its mental health too. Scared dogs may be harder to diagnose, take longer to undergo a standard physical exam, or pose a risk of injury to themselves, the vet staff, and their owners. So, take care of your dogs and they will give you all their love and gratitude in return.
Bethany Langston is a blogger, a journalist at 99brides.com, and just an ambitious writer. She always enjoyed covering numerous topics from politics to relationships, so she decided to make writing her career.