Dog Anxiety at the Vet

Dog Anxiety at the Vet

How Do I Keep My Dog Calm at the Vet?

Taking your dog to the vet is a necessary but often stressful part of being a pet owner. Nobody likes going to the doctor, and your pup is no different. This is likely one of the most anxiety ridden times in your dog’s life, and it probably isn’t a picnic for you either. Often just being in a new place with so many other humans and pets can be an overwhelming experience for your dog. Luckily, with enough time, patience, and these helpful tips, you can overcome the anxiety that usually accompanies a trip to the vet.

Good Training

Good dog behavior in the vet starts with good puppy training. Having a good healthy relationship with your dog is one of the first steps. When your pup trusts you completely, just having you present will ease some of his anxiety. Good basic puppy training also makes a vet visit easier. When your dog is easily able to identify and follow your commands, he will be less likely to cause problems in the waiting room or with the vet.

Teaching your puppy a “watch me” command will also come in handy at the vet. If he knows a “watch me” command you can easily distract him with a toy or a treat while the vet is giving him an exam or shots. Your puppy is naturally shy, it is also good to work through that at home so that he is used to physical contact with humans. If he’s used to positive human contact, interactions with the vet will not be so scary.

First Visit

Before your puppy’s first vet visit, try and take him to meet the vet, and technicians. This gives him the chance to get to know the place and the people at a calmer time. This will also give him the chance to make a connection to the vet’s office that doesn’t involve pain or fear. This can make a big difference in your dog’s anxiety level on your first medical visit.

Arrive Early

On the actual day of your appointment, try and arrive a little early. This will lower your dog’s anxiety by giving him time to explore the place, and do his business before going inside. When you are inside the waiting room, keep your pooch close to you. Remember that this is a stressful time not only for your pet, but for all of the other ones in the waiting room as well. It’s difficult to predict how your pup, or someone else’s, will react under that pressure, so keeping your dog close to you and away from others is always the safest bet.

Stay Calm

When you are having your appointment, be sure to stay calm. Dogs are extremely perceptive and sensitive to human emotions. If your dog senses fear, anxiety, or stress in you, he will probably begin to feel that as well. If you remain calm and affectionate, your pup will also be more likely to remain calm and relaxed. This will make your vet visit much easier and less traumatic for both of you. Try to distract your pup while he is having his exam. You can do this by holding up your pup’s favorite toy or a treat. Another good distraction is a treat that takes a long time to eat or to find. This is especially effective during an exam. After your appointment is over, be sure to reward your pup or his good behavior.

Bottom Line

Taking your dog to the vet can be an anxiety ridden experience for both of you. Luckily good training, and early intervention can help make this time much less stressful, and lead to a happier, healthier savvy mutt.

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