Tuesday Top Ten: Tricks to Make Your Dog’s Vet Visit Less Stressful

Does your dog somehow know when you’re taking him or her to the vet?  It seems like my dogs dig their feet in and sit down before we even leave the house.  Here are some ideas to make that long trip to the vet a little less stressful for both of you.

10.  Make sure you take your dog for car rides to places other than the vet’s office so they don’t associate the car strictly with something unpleasant.

9.  Try skipping the meal immediately before the vet trip.  That way, you can bring along some treats to reward your dog for good exam-room behavior without having to worry about weight gain.  Once in awhile, it’s good to eat cookies for breakfast!

8.  If you have a small dog, keep the dog in his or her crate until you get into the exam room.  Your dog may feel safer if you keep him or her separated from other animals in the waiting room.

7.  Try purchasing some synthetic dog pheromone scent.  Spray a towel or pillow and put it in the dog’s crate in the car to help calm the animal.

6.  When one pet has to go to the vet, take all of them along and give all of them treats and rewards – even the ones who are not getting the shot.  This shows them that the vet is not always “mean.”

5.  If you think it’s necessary, ask your vet for a mild sedative to calm your dog on vet day.

4.  Leave your cell phone at home and concentrate on your dog during the visit.

3.  Ask your vet how you can help ease the dog’s stress during the exam.  Some vets will allow you to cuddle the dog during any procedures, but others may prefer to use their staff to comfort your dog.  It’s a liability issue for them if you get in the way, so don’t argue over it.

2.  Speak calmly to your dog, even if you aren’t able to hold them and even if it appears the vet is causing them pain.  No one likes shots, but crying with the dog or screaming when the needle pinches is not going to help anyone.

1.  If your vet doesn’t seem to “click” with your particular dog, ask to see someone else at the same practice or find a new vet.  You don’t like everyone you meet – why should your dog?

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!

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