When you bring your dog to the vet, he may find himself being forced into a situation with people and animals that he is unfamiliar with. He may have to undergo exams, given shots or received treatments that could startle or scare him.
No wonder going to the vet can be a stressful and scary time for many dogs. As such, your dog may not cooperate when your vet needs to examine him or to administer some treatment on him.
So, how do you keep your dog calm during this time?
Have a good relationship with your dog
Your dog will very likely feel more secure when you are around if you have already built a good bond with him.
Equip your dog with basic commands
Basic commands, such as sit, stay and come, would come in handy at the vet. If your dog has been trained to respond to these commands, you can give directions to your dog on what to do.
Get your dog used to being handled
Your dog may not feel comfortable about being handled by others, especially if he is the skittish or shy type. You can minimize or eliminate this problem by spending a few minutes everyday gently handling your dogs’s ears and belly to get him used to this kind of contact.
Take your dog to the vet before the first appointment
Let you dog get familiar with the vet’s office before his first exam. Bring your dog to meet the staff and to have a feel for the environment. This will help to lessen his anxiety when he goes for the actual appointment.
This will give your dog enough time to sniff around and do his business before seeing the vet.
Keep close to him while waiting
While waiting for your turn to see the vet, keep close to your dog and try to distract him with a toy or treat. This could help him to ease his anxiety.
Maintain a distance from other pets
Keep a respectful distance from other pets because you do not know how they would behave towards your dog. Moreover, your dog’s behavior may become unpredictable if he is under stress and afraid.
Distract him during the exam
You may want to give your dog a treat that would take a while to eat. Your dog will be distracted while the vet does his job.
Be calm yourself
You must remain calm as dogs are quite sensitive to human emotions. If you are stressed, your dog will feel it.
Use a “watch me” command
Teach your dog a “watch me” command so that you can use it in the vet’s office if necessary. Hold up a treat while giving this command. Then, give the treat to him when he makes eye contact. This is a good way to distract him while he is receiving a shot.
Preparation is the key to a less stressful experience at the vet. You must remain calm yourself so as not to add to the stress your dog is already experiencing. Distract your dog to take his mind away from potentially stressful situation.