It can be so heartbreaking to have to take a pet to the vet. Not only are they terrified, but they don’t realize that we are doing it because we love them. To ease away some of this stress, try out these ways to prepare your anxious dog for the vet. They aren’t a quick fix, but over time, they will shift the experience for both you and your dog.
Make It a Positive Experience
From now on, aim to make every single vet trip a positive experience. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, but there are many things that you can do to enhance your dog’s associations with the vet. For example, you could bring a favorite toy like a ball or tug and play with them while in the waiting room. This helps the dog associate the room with play and distracts them from wallowing in their fears. For more food-motivated canines, bring some treats or provide them with a special chew that’ll take a while to finish, like a bully stick or a dried cow ear.
Desensitize Them to the Building
Another way to prepare your anxious dog for the vet is to get them used to the vet clinic without going in. You may start with driving to the parking lot, rolling down the windows, giving your dog a treat, hanging out for a few minutes, and then driving away. The goal is for them to not automatically think that the building equals being confused and touched by weird people. When the negatives become less of an expectation, they’ll be less of a big deal for your pet.
Have the Vets Assist
To take the previous step even further, you might take your dog into the clinic to greet the receptionist or technicians. Both will have training in how to reduce stress in animal hospitals. This isn’t necessary for every dog. However, for severe cases of anxiety, it can help your dog have more positive associations and fewer negative experiences.
Stressed pets are one of the biggest heartaches to deal with. Luckily, they are some ways to manage this for their veterinary appointments.