Taking your dog to the vet can be stressful for both you and your dog. The good news is, there are things you can do with your dog to make the regular vet visit an enjoyable experience.
Below, we will discuss many of the stress-causing elements of a veterinarian visit and give you some warm-ups you can do with your dog to help in each of the situations.
Help Your Dog Enjoy Riding in the Car
You will most likely have to put your dog in the car to take her to the vet. Before just throwing her into the car, practice with her getting into and out of the car. Let her relax with you in the car for short periods of time without starting the vehicle. Gradually increase the time and then start the car.
I also recommend that you create a designated area for your dog to be when riding. In SUVs, it is easy to designate the back area. In a car, the back seat is the safest place for your dog. If you insist on the front seat, make sure she knows to stay on the passenger side. Teach your dog to relax and enjoy the ride.
Get Your Dog Accustomed to People, Pets, and Places
That awful vet visit should never be awful. With practice and great socialization, you can make a visit to the vet’s office a pleasing event.
Start with going to different public places such as the pet store, Home Depot, and even your vet’s office when you don’t have an appointment.
Good practice for your dog would include:
- Entering and exiting various places
- Walking on different types of flooring
- Experiencing different types of lighting
- Sampling different levels of noise
- Hanging out with crowds of different size
It is always a good idea to go when there could be other dogs around. Let others approach and pet your dog whenever possible. The mission here is to get your dog used to people, pets, and places.
Visit the Vet Before Your Appointment
The first visit can be very intimidating for a dog. As I mentioned above, I always suggest going to your veterinarian office on non-appointment days to introduce your dog to as many of the staff as possible. Most people never think about doing this with their dog. It is a simple practice that could avoid many stressful trips in the future. Getting your dog to know the people she will be seeing only two or three times a year is very forward-thinking.
Preparing Your Dog for the Veterinary Exam Itself
When playing with your dog, you can do some very simple things that can prepare her for what she will experience during an exam:
- Rub her ears, stick your fingers in them (not to hard or far), and clean them every now and again, even if it is with a dry paper towel.
- Play with her paws, stick your fingers between the pads, and check the nails. Clip her nails yourself when you can.
- Belly rubs, roll her over, make her hold still on her back for short periods of time.
- Pull her tail—not hard—just lift itand hold it until she relaxes.
Relax and Enjoy
These few things will go a long way toward helping you enjoy your experiences when having a visit with your veterinarian.
Oh, and think positive. If you stress over the visit, your dog will sense this and start to stress-out as well and not even know why.
Tyler Meredith says
I like what this article recommends about visiting the vet before the appointment to ensure the dog won’t feel nervous from being in a new place. My dog tends to be really nervous around new people and places so going there with no obligation would be helpful to get him familiar with it. I’ll also have to remember to keep her happy when we’re waiting in the vet to make sure he doesn’t get anxiety from sitting around for too long.
Bennie Copeland says
Thanks so much for the feedback. I have been in many situations where a dog had very bad experiences at the vet. Even though the dog was great everywhere else, the vet visit triggered bad memories and bad reactions. I would also suggest you request that the Doctor and/or a vet tech actually come visit you while in the waiting room for a brief time, if they are not too busy. Let them know what you are doing and usually they are very willing to help out. Most vets want the dog’s visit to be a good experience as well.
Millie Hue says
I like that you suggested visiting the vet before any appointments to get them comfortable while they are there while knowing new people. I will definitely do this before I get my dog checked. We just think that she might need to undergo a surgery because there is a cyst on her left leg that keeps on growing.
Bennie Copeland says
Thank you, Millie, for the comment. I hope the results of the cyst come out good for you all and that she is in good health. Thanks for listening.
Ridley Fitzgerald says
You’ve got great tips for helping my dog go to the vet. I like how you said to get her accustomed to new people and pets. We’re looking for a place to give our dog surgery, so I’ll remember what you said to help her prepare.
Hazel Owens says
That’s good to know that you can meet the vet before the appointment so your dog will feel comfortable going to the office. This is helpful since my daughter just got a Golden Retriever so I’m trying to figure out how to take ti to the vet. We’ll have to find one nearby we can take it so we can make sure it’s calm when it gets its shots.
Taylor Bishop says
Thank you for this advice for getting a dog ready to go to the vet. I’m glad that you mentioned you need to try to get the dog use to public places. It sounds important to try to take your dog to places well before the appointment so the dog can be ready for the vet.
I love your dog vet tips! My dog is always scared of going to the vet. I’ll have to consider your tips os that I can give my puppy comfort.
Shayla Cademis says
Thanks for the suggestion to take my dog to lots of different public places to expose him to different types of floors, lighting, crowds, and noises to prepare them for going to the vet’s office. My husband and just adopted a dog and need to take her in for a check-up soon. After we find a great vet in our area, we’ll definitely have to practice going on outings to help our dog become more comfortable in public spaces.
I never knew that rubbing the ears could clean them. My dog hates the vet and needs to get used to being touched. I’ll have to put my hands on the places that will be checked so that she gets used to it.