It would be nice if every dog was eager and willing to go everywhere and anywhere but the reality is this is not always the case and going to the vet’s office in particular can be a very stressful event. Thankfully, there are things that can be done to make the overall experience a positive one. The following is a list of steps that can be taken in order to attain success.
Happy visits – Dogs associate the vet’s office with unpleasant experiences. Really, who can blame them: being poked and prodded is not normally on the top of most people’s fun lists! There are usually shots involved and maybe even a blood test. Make a point of stopping at the veterinary hospital for ‘‘happy visits’’ bring in your pooch for some petting from the staff, maybe put him on the scale and of course for lots of cookies. Eventually, your dog will start to think of the vet’s as a fun place and not so scary.
Forewarn the veterinary staff – When you first call the veterinary office, advise the VOA (Veterinary Office Assistant) that you have a frightened or hesitant dog. They will make a point of booking the appropriate amount of time and of advising the rest of the team so that they are aware that your pooch needs a little extra TLC.
Early visits – The busiestappointment times at the veterinary office are during evenings and on weekends. It makes sense, since this is when most people are available. However, these can be the worst times to bring your nervous or stressed dog. There are usually many other dogs at that time, who may be barking or even just invading your dog’s ‘‘bubble‘‘; the pace will be fast and busy and there is a greater risk of an increased waiting time if previous appointments run late. By booking an appointment during less in-demand slots, this will decrease your dog’s anxiety level and allow the veterinary staff to go at your dog’s pace.
Adaptil – is an appeasing pheromone that can help to decrease your dog’s stress and anxiety level. Since it is a spray, you can use it in your dog’s carrier, in the car and even on a bandana that you can place around your dog’s neck.
Treats – It seems obvious to bring treats with you but sometimes a dog’s anxiety level makes it that they have no interest in food. In order to increase the chances of your pup actually wanting to eat those treats do not feed them right before coming for their appointment (or only feed half their meal). Also bring along super special treats, not the kind that they already get every day. (Perhaps little pieces of steak or chicken).
Drugs – There are medications that can be given for those dogs that need extra help at their visits. Discuss with your dog’s veterinarian if this would be an appropriate option. Using the above noted tips you can help to make your pet’s dreaded visit to the veterinarian a pleasant one.
By: Stephanie Gagne-Luce , RVT, CCRA