Although we know the importance of dentist appointments, not everyone is excited about them. In fact, for some people, the prospects are so terrifying that they visit dentists only during emergencies. It could be the same with your dog and vet visits. Your dog could be so scared of the vet’s office that you could be tempted to only visit during emergencies. But vet visits are crucial in keeping your puppy healthy.
We are here to help. The following tips will help you make vet visits go smoothly for you and your pup. But you must be ready to put in the effort and be consistent.
Socialise your pup
If your pup acts up whenever they encounter strangers (including the vet), she is not well socialised. If the puppy is from a registered pet breeder, it should be over seven weeks old – ready for socialisation.
Do not wait until she is older to introduce her to new environments, people, and other dogs. Seize every opportunity while the pup is still young. Include the vet’s office in your list of people and places to visit.
If you are dealing with an older dog, the socialising approach could differ. Consider reaching out to pet behaviour experts for help.
Perhaps it’s not the dog that’s scared of the vet’s office. Maybe you are. Dogs can easily pick up when their owners are happy, relaxed, anxious, or stressed. When you are calm, they are too. When you are stressed and anxious, they act up.
Does the vet’s office make you nervous? If it does, find ways to make it less stressful. Your dog will not pick the negative vibe and respond to it.
Make the trip awesome!
A stressful ride could be a precursor to an ordeal at the vet’s office. Although dogs generally enjoy car rides, not all do, especially if the vet visit is the only time the dog gets a ride.
So, start by helping your dog enjoy car rides. Make a few trips around the neighbourhood or run your errands with her. Remember to observe safety measures and keep your dog comfortable.
As your dog learns to enjoy car rides, the trip to the vet’s office will be an opportunity to enjoy another car ride.
Practice at home
At the vet’s office, your dog will experience plenty of probing and touching, and this could be the reason she acts up. If your dog has this experience once a year, there could be a problem. But you can change that. Play doctor with your dog. Dress up like a vet, hold her, and perform a few physical examinations just like the vet does while playing. It may be uncomfortable for your dog at first, but as you do it, she will get accustomed to the vet’s procedures.
Desensitise your dog
The look, scent, and feel of the vet’s office could send a fear trigger through your dog’s mind and cause her to act up. But you can change that by desensitising your dog.
Make the vet’s office a place you regularly visit. Allow the vet and staff to touch and play with your dog. As your dog gets accustomed to the sights, sounds, scents, and people at the vet’s office, the annual check-up will be another friendly visit.
Bring some treats
Did your dog remain calm during the ride to the vet? If she did, give her a treat. Did she stay calm in the vet’s waiting room as she watched other animals despite the traffic and interactions? They deserve a bigger reward. If your dog remained composed during the examination and cooperated with the vet, she deserves a monster treat.
Don’t forget to bring along treats during the visit. But be sure that the treats you’re giving your pooch have only healthy ingredients without nasty additives. It is your way of telling your dog they have behaved well and should keep it up.
Lastly, be candid with the vet.
You know that your fur baby is not a little angel. She may act up, especially while at the vet. If that’s the case, be candid with the vet. Let them know the behaviour issues your pup still has so that they may know how to handle her. If the vet suggests putting on a muzzle during visits, cooperate. It will not hurt your dog. She could be slightly uncomfortable for a short time, but the move will help the vet examine your pup and attend to their health.
Putting on a muzzle when visiting the vet may sound extreme. But do it as long as your dog has behaviour issues. Hopefully, you will not be stuck there for long. By diligently following the tips above, your dog will look forward to visiting the vet and having an excellent time there.