Tips On Taking Your Dog To The Vet
It’s that time of the year again: your dog needs to be taken to the place they fear more than vampires dread crosses coated in a mixture of garlic sauce and holy water – the veterinarian’s office. It’s potentially worse than taking your children to the doctor or dentist since most kids can’t outrun you and don’t fancy biting when they are scared, both of which are almost inevitable as you approach the office. Luckily, there are some steps you can take in order to ease the situation. Here they are:
1. Teach your dog that cars aren’t carriages to Hell itself
Some dogs only get to ride in the car to go to the vet’s office, so don’t be surprised if they immediately start running away and/or moaning when they see your vehicle. To prevent this from happening, start driving your dog to fun places such as parks, lakes or beaches. You definitely want your dog to associate the car with good stuff, not just the scary stuff.
Another thing you can try is finding music that soothes your dog and then playing it while you’re in the car. This will help them relax and calm down.
2. Herbal calming remedies aren’t as bad as they sound
You’d be surprised how many of these exist, and if you find the ones that contain Tryptophan, chamomile, and brewer’s yeast, you’ve hit the jackpot. Some vets agree that a combination of these ingredients is the canine equivalent of a turkey sandwich and a beer after. Additionally, there are collars or calming sprays with DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromones), like an Adaptil collar – they have a calming effect on some dogs. ProQuiet calming tablets also work exceptionally well, and they are completely safe to use. Just check which ones you aren’t allowed to use before certain procedures, for instance if your vet is drawing blood. Always double check!
3. Choose the right vet
There are plenty of vets to choose from, and you should always look for the right one for your dog. You should probably find a person your dog will get along with, but don’t be discouraged if your dog doesn’t like vets at all. If that’s the case, try finding one that is both understanding and willing to work with a scared pup. Just because your entire family has traditionally been visiting one vet for decades does not necessarily mean that he or she is a good match for your pooch.
4. Visit the vet regularly
Try going to the vet’s office even when nothing is wrong – heck, try going there when everything is just as it should be. Call ahead, and ask the staff if you can stop by and do trivial things like weighing your dog, measuring them, or just stopping by to say hi. Most vets will be happy to help you work on this. Or, if you have more than one dog, take them both to the vet, even if one isn’t getting anything done. Both cases give your dog a chance to be in the scary place without anything scary happening. Also, try taking them to the vet every six months instead of once per year, as it will help your dog/dogs become more comfortable with going there.
5. Treats, treats, and more treats
We can’t stress this enough – you have to have treats to give your dog when you’re going to the vet’s office. Make sure to bring the really good stuff, opting for treats you know your dog likes the most. Or, even better, find a treat they will simply adore, and give it to them only when visiting the vet. This way, your pet will know there’s something awesome waiting for them at the end, which will give them the motivation to face their fear.
6. Practice with your dog
You should practice handling your dog and touching their feet, ears, tail, nose, etc. from puppyhood. Start gently at first, and make certain to apply mild pressure (sometimes the vet will have to get slightly rougher than what the pooch is used to). This will help make the check-up process less stressful, and is also good practice because the more time you spend checking your dog, the higher the chances you’ll notice any new lumps or bumps.