Some dogs just don't like the vet. Whether it's because of the unusual environment, the occasional vaccination shot or being touched by a stranger, some dogs just get nervous and hyper when it's time to go to the veterinarian. Knowing what you can do to calm your nervous dog can help make the experience of going to the vet to be more enjoyable and relaxing.
Take a Long Walk Beforehand
Many dogs find walks to be relaxing and soothing, and some dogs naturally calm down during their walks because they expend a lot of energy during the task. Go for a long power walk, then meander your way back to the veterinarian's office. If necessary, take your dog to a walk-in vet clinic so you can decide when the walk has been long enough and your dog is sufficiently calm, instead of trying to adhere to a schedule.
Wait Outside with Your Dog
If there's a wait to see the vet, take your dog outside where there's a lot to see and explore. Being in a natural environment where there are familiar smells and sounds can help keep your pet calm and soothed while he or she waits to see the veterinarian.
Take Your Dog to a Vet Who Makes You Both Feel Comfortable
All veterinarians have a different style. Some are quick and efficient, others are gentle and calm. Take your dog to a vet who has a manner that your dog responds to positively. Communicate with the vet when you think certain behaviors are more helpful and calming for your dog than others.
Bring Treats to the Exam
Giving your dog rewards before, during and after vet visits will help your dog to build positive associations with the vet. Reward your dog during the walk, when he or she displays calm behaviors in the vet waiting room and during the exam. If your vet has treats, encourage him or her to give your dog treats as well. If your vet doesn't have treats, share some of the treats you brought with you.
Have Mock Exams
Hold mock wellness exams in your house. Wear a white medical coat and put your dog up on a table. Touch your dog in the same ways that the vet touches your dog. Look inside and behind the ears, in between the toes and shine a light in the ears. Every time you can successfully look in another place on your dog's body, give your dog a treat.
Make Social Calls on your Vet
Drop in at the vet's office from time to time just to have your dog get petted by the receptionist and say hi to the veterinarian. Give your dog treats while you're there. These harmless social calls will help your dog associate the vet with friendly behaviours and treats.
For more information about how you can help reduce your dog's fear of the vet, contact an experienced veterinarian at a company like Belle River Animal Clinic.