Cats are usually the culprit when it comes to vet anxiety, but dogs can be anxious as well. If your dog is timid by nature or had less than stellar vet visits the past, it is important that you try to make this as easy as possible for your dog. Here are four things you can do to help your dog have a successful trip to the vet.
1. Make Trips to the Vet Like Any Other Trip
If the only time that your dog goes in the car is to go to the vet, they will know something is up. Try to make other trips similar to going to the vet's office, such as driving to dog parks or walking your dog in other neighborhoods every now and then. This way, excursions in the car won't always be associated with vet visits.
2. Check Out the Vet's Office Beforehand
If you can feel calm the day of your dog's visit, they will feel more at ease. You will have more confidence going into a vet's office if you know where to park, which entrance to use, and if you have met the veterinarian. You will be able to bring your dog into the vet's office knowing what to expect and they will take your lead.
3. Practice in Other Social Settings
If your dog is anxious around other dogs and people, this might be something you can work on with your dog. If your dog is at home all day or always in the backyard, get them out more around others. This might involve trips to the dog park, training classes, or doggy day care. Don't limit your dog's social interactions so much that going to the vet will end up being a situation that they cannot handle.
4. Push Treats and Positive Behavior
The day of your dog's exam, be sure that you are upbeat and that you aren't showing signs of stress. Make sure that your vet clinic's staff is given some of your dog's favorite treats so that everyone is instantly a friend. Your dog will hopefully take the entire trip in stride, taking cues from you that this is a positive visit and nothing to be afraid of.
There will always be exams or procedures that your dog isn't going to like at the vet's office, but the more you can make the experience a positive one the better. Set your dog up for success and work with them to get their anxiety levels down and maybe eventually look forward to trips to the vet.
To learn more, contact a veterinarian like Grove Center Veterinary Hospital.