If you have a dog [or a cat] you will know that vet visits are unavoidable. And most dogs [and cats] don’t like this experience. I mean I don’t know of any human who ‘likes’ to visit a hospital! But our pets will need annual vaccinations and check-ups from time-to-time. Of course, based on their health condition vet visits can be occasional or frequent. Irrespective of the frequency pet parents, especially those who have anxious dogs, often have a key question: How to prepare an anxious dog for vet visit?
For starters let me tell you that I’ve a dog who is anxious about vet visits. Earlier his vet visits used to be infrequent. But recently due to a health condition we’ve had to take him for several vet visits, and he doesn’t like it. So, we’ve had to figure out a few ways to ease his nerves before every vet visit.
Also read: 5 tips to get your dogs summer ready
Three tips to prepare an anxious dog for vet visit
Prepare a detailed checklist to be discussed with the vet
We do this as a practice to not miss any crucial information. If you maintain journal, like we do, you could email the highlights to the clinic ahead of the visit. Or keep the points handy as notes to simply pull it up during the appointment. In our case, my partner and I go for our dog’s vet visits together so that one person can go in first to have the initial conversation followed by the actual physical examination. We do this to ensure that our dog spends less time in the chamber. After the check-up one of us stays in to talk to the vet, while another takes the dog out to help him relax. In case of annual vaccination, it’s very straightforward. A checklist may not be required. But remember to carry the vaccination booklet to be updated.
Try to reach the veterinary clinic ahead of time
This is to ensure there is enough time to take your dog around to relieve themselves and get familiarised with the environment. No matter how many times your dog may have visited the same veterinary clinic, they may still feel anxious. Our dog always feels anxious, so we give him enough time to walk around the place [even go on a barking fest] so that he is slightly relaxed before the appointment. We also carry his water bottle so that he can drink some cool water that also helps him calm down. For dogs who like treats, you could carry some of their favourite treats.
Importantly, ease your nerves
Unknowingly you might be passing on some of your stress to the dog. On the day of a vet visit, what we do is maintain our regular routine, so the dog thinks it’s a normal day. We also try our best to stay calm as much as possible. Sometimes it may not work out as planned and that’s okay too because after all we are humans and getting anxious about out beloved pets’ health is probably obvious.