How to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful for Your Dog

How to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful for Your Dog

Your relationship with your veterinary team is one of the most important relationships in your dog’s life.  So, it’s important to invest the time and care to help make vet visits less stressful for your dog.

Good reasons for making vet visits positive even if your dog is healthy

If your dog is healthy and only needs 1-2 check up visits a year, you want your dog to find vet visits worry-free in case of an injury or accident.

If your dog has on-going or chronic health issues, or is fearful or anxious in many situations, you want your dog’s visits to the vet to be as stress-free as possible.

Steffi, who had always loved going to the vet from when she was a puppy, started to become more fearful of vet visits as her arthritis condition worsened over the years.  We’ve needed to work on making vet visits positive for her again.

Tips for making vet visits less stressful

Here are some tips on how to make vet visits less stressful for both you and your dog:

  • Arrange ‘happy vet visits’ with your vet. ‘Happy vet visits’ are simply short visits to the vet practice where they meet veterinary staff, get lots of treats, and leave.
  • Book the appointment for a quiet time.  Ask the veterinary practice if there are any times that are usually quieter, and likely to be less overwhelming for your dog, and book an appointment for then.
  • Find a vet that is a good fit for you and your dog.  Some vets have a special interest in working with anxious pets.
  • Feed your dog a small meal before the vet visit.*  Feeling hunger can put your dog into a negative mood before you even arrive.  A small meal will help them feel more settled in themselves.  (*This only applies if your dog is not due a veterinary procedure requiring nil by mouth beforehand.)
  • Take your dog for a walk before the vet visit.  This will help them to burn off some energy and relieve some stress.
  • Bring your dog’s favourite treats and toys to the vet visit.  This will help them to learn to associate the vet with positive things.
  • Ask your vet about pre-visit meds and supplements.  If your dog is very anxious, you can ask the vet to review whether pre-visit calming supplements or anti-anxiety medications are suitable for your dog.
  • Ask the vet to show you how to handle your dog in a way that minimises their anxiety.  This includes things like how to pick them up, how to hold them, and how to approach them.

By following these tips, you can help to make vet visits less stressful for both of you.  Helping you keep your dog as heathy and happy as possible for life.

If you are concerned about your dog’s behaviours, it is important to talk to your veterinarian or an accredited dog behaviour professional.   At On Kew Dog, we can help you to identify the factors that are contributing to your dog’s behaviour and develop a behaviour modification plan to address them.

Contact us now for behaviour support for your reactive or aggressive dog.

Nada Chebib KPA-CTP ABTC

ID 1: A large red and white bull breed dog is standing in a vet consulting room with her back to the camera.  She is looking up to the right at person who is out of frame.  Her tail is wagging to the right.  Next to the person on the counter are some treats.

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