7 Tips to Prepare Your Dogs for a Vet Appointment
A visit to the vet can be quite stressful if your dogs aren’t prepared for it. To bring down your stress levels and make regular check-ups less traumatic for your pets, you need to establish a few habits prior to every visit. Try doing the following tips before dropping by the vet’s office with a furry patient.
- Stay calm. Remember that dogs look up to humans and feed off their owner’s energy, meaning your feelings easily transfer to them. If you remain calm, they are likely to be calm, too. Remain cheerful, keep to your regular routine, and avoid making a fuss before you leave for the vet. This way, your pet knows that there is nothing to be worried about.
- Bring your dogs on a leash or in a crate. Dog crates and leashes ensure that your dogs can be easily managed if they start becoming restless. Quality martingale collars can help you control your dogs should they start pulling or refuse to go inside the clinic. The collar allows you to facilitate proper behavior without choking your pet. Alternatively, a crate may be used. This is safer than simply carrying your dog and hoping for the best. While your pet may be friendly, it does not guarantee other animals in the clinic will be.
- Let them be friends with the crate. Do not let the crate be a symbol of nightmares. If your dogs start associating crates with visits to the vet, then you can guarantee that they will start hiding once you put their crates out. Familiarize your dogs with the crate by leaving it out at a place where they can see it, or even feed them in the crate occasionally. Let them associate crates with happy thoughts so that it will be easier for them to get in the crate.
- Bring your dog on an empty stomach. Often, owners use food to court obedience prior to driving to the pet clinic. You can use this to your advantage in the clinic, too. Bring your dogs on an empty stomach and reward them whenever they cooperate in doing diagnostics and procedures.
- Make the drive enjoyable. Instead of driving straight to the vet, drive around the block so your dogs are used to the car. Some pets never ride a car other than to go to the vet, so car rides can be quite stressful for them. Spraying calming scents on the seat or cushion helps, too. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell and the right scents relax them. Also, letting them play with their favorite toys during the drive can encourage and comfort them.
- Visit the vet in advance. This may be a big task if you are terribly busy, but a visit to the vet at least a day prior to your dog's appointment makes a big difference. Your dogs can familiarize themselves with the drive, waiting and exam room, and the staff and other clients. And because there will be no shots or procedure during this trip, your dogs will not associate the place with something scary.
- Invest the time. It is never a good idea to book your appointment in a hurry. Just like in any doctor's clinic, there is often a wait in the vet’s office. This can be because of emergency cases, uncooperative patients, or routine treatments that take a lot of time. It is best to pick a day that you can fully dedicate to the care of your dog. In addition, you can speak to the staff and find out if there is a day in the clinic where there are fewer clients so your visit will be much quicker.
Handle vet visits like a pro and lead the way for your dog. Practice these tips and make life easier for both of you the next time you come into the clinic for a check-up.