Paying a visit to the vet can be a stressful experience for many dogs. As soon as they enter the veterinary clinic, pets are bombarded by different sounds and smells. Being in an unfamiliar environment and surrounded by many strange humans and animals can excite and overwhelm your dog or cat. Additionally, they are poked and prodded by the vet, whom they might associate with feeling sick. So it’s understandable for your pet to show signs of stress when you go to your vet.
As a dog parent, this can make it challenging to get your pet into the car and to behave well in the vet’s waiting lounge. Bringing your pet to the vet can be just as stressful for you as it is for them, but doing so is vital in their preventive care. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make vet visits more manageable. Here are some tips for a calm and stress-free vet visit.
Prepare Your Pet for the Visit
If you want a less stressful visit to the vet, you need to prepare your dog for it before your appointment date. Getting into a crate and riding a car may be activities that your dog associates with vet trips so you need to help them have more positive associations with these activities.
Reacquaint Your Pet with Their Carrier
Many pet owners only use carriers or crates when bringing their pets to the vet, which is why their furry friends start to get frantic just at the sight of the carrier. To help ease your pet, take out the carrier a couple of weeks before your pet’s veterinary appointment so they can get used to seeing it around. You can open the crate and let your dog explore what’s inside to help condition your pet that their crate is a friendly and safe space to be in.
If you want to encourage your pup to enter the crate without a fuss, you can put their favorite toys inside as well as something soft they can snuggle with like a blanket. You can order a batch of customizable dog blankets and permanently leave one in your car and one in their carrier so your dog always has a familiar object that can help them keep calm.
Also, use the carrier at times other than when you're going to the vet. Keep it out and make it a part of their everyday life.
Take Them on Non-Vet Trips
Similar to how your furry friend can associate their carrier to vet visits, they can also get used to the idea that they only get into a vehicle to head to the vet clinic. As a result, they don’t feel comfortable or become sick in the car. To help them relax in your car, take them out to puppy playdates or bring them along for quick errands that won’t require you to leave the car. This way, your pet will start to realize that car rides can be fun and they don’t always end up at the vet’s office.
Help Put Your Pet At Ease At the Vet
Once you are at the vet, it will be an entirely different environment. You have no control over the people and animals coming in. They might be friendly towards your pet or scare off your precious pup. If you want your dog to stay calm at the vet’s, here are some suggestions:
Schedule Earlier Vet Appointments
When setting a vet appointment for your four-legged friend, request the earliest time slot. Since checkups can run long with pet emergencies getting squeezed in, you can end up waiting a bit longer in a packed clinic—which can stress your canine companion. By coming in at the earliest time, you can avoid long stays in a crowded waiting lounge. If you can’t get an early schedule, call the clinic once you’ve parked and ask if you can wait with your pet in the car until it’s your canine’s turn to be examined.
Bring Your Pet in for Fun Visits
If you want your pet to feel more at home in the veterinary clinic, make time for friendly visits. Going to the vet doesn’t always have to include getting poked by needles or examined by strangers. You can make the experience more enjoyable for your pet by simply visiting the staff and saying hello. You can bring some treats and ask some staff members to hand them to your pet. Bringing your furry friend to the vet when nothing will be done to them can show them vet visits are not as scary.
Reward Your Pet after Going to the Vet
Use treats to motivate your dog to stay calm while visiting the vet. On the next appointment, let the veterinary team offer your pet tasty treats as a form of distraction. If you want this trick to be effective, skip the regular feeding before going to the vet. It will ensure your pet is hungry enough to focus on the food being offered to them.
A lot of pets feel stressed each time they go to the vet, which can be just as challenging for the pet parents bringing them. The good news is there are different ways to make each vet visit a pleasant experience for both you and your pet. This way, your precious pup won’t skip any routine checkups and you can rest assured they remain healthy.
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