Going to the vet with your dog can be stressful for both of you, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some good ways to help your dog during a visit to the vet so they (and you) can stay calm and be treated in the best possible way.
Exercise Before The Appointment
Physical activity is often suggested as a way to deal with all sorts of dog behavior problems, and the reason for that is because it works. Exercise is good for your dog’s health and happiness, and if you tire them out before a trip to the vet, they’ll be more likely to relax there.
Go for a long walk or play with toys in the park for about an hour before your appointment. Do whatever your dog likes to do that will tire them out. This works best if your dog is healthy, though. If they are going to the vet for an illness or injury and can’t handle hard exercise, try something else on the list because this could actually make them more unwell.
Get Them Used To The Car
Sometimes the issue for dogs is less about the strange smells and treatments at the vet itself and more about getting there. If your dog is not used to being in the car, or if they have done it many times but dislike it, then it could be this that raises their stress levels before they even reach their appointment.
If your dog isn’t good in the car, you’ll need to do some practice journeys to help them get used to it. Ideally, you should use truck floor hammocks to keep them safe and secure as well, as they will be less anxious.
Give Them Treats
The best way to keep your dog calm at the vet is to give him a treat. Any food that your dog likes can be a treat. Choose between a dog biscuit, a piece of ham, or a crunchy bone, for example – it doesn’t matter.
When your dog goes into the exam room, stands on the scale, or gets a shot, give them treats. If you gave your dog a treat every time they did something good, they would learn that the vet’s office is a good place. If you’re very lucky, they might even start to look forward to going!
Bring A Familiar Blanket
Strong smells, loud noises, bright lights, and other animals can all make the waiting room at the vet’s office a scary place for many dogs, even if they’ve been there before.
One good idea is to bring a blanket they are used to and use at home. Having their own blanket can help your dog calm down in the waiting room, especially if you’ve done settle training. But don’t make your dog lie down if it wants to stand up, and don’t expect it to stay still. Try to make them feel at ease in whatever way they prefer.
If you can, bring your dog to the vet’s office prior to the appointment so he can get used to the waiting room – perhaps the day before, for example. Remember that a vet’s office has a lot of weird smells in it that will be alien to your dog, and a visit early on will give them a chance to get used to those smells before coming into contact with them for the first time.