No dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or pet owner enjoys a visit to the veterinarian. There’s the shaking, the crying, the shedding, the peeing, the hiding, and the ordeal of getting your dog into his carrier. All of it adds up to a stressful and worrisome experience. You don’t enjoy it and your dog definitely doesn’t enjoy it.
Regardless of the age or temperament of your dog, something happens when you get the carrier out and whisper the word “veterinarian”. However, visiting the veterinarian yearly or more frequently depending on your dog’s health is a necessary aspect of being a dog and pet owner. If you have a dog with joint mobility issues, arthritis, diabetes, or another condition – you know how important it is to keep up with consistent veterinarian visits.
We’ve put together some tips on how to make the veterinarian visit and entire experience better for you and your dog. As always, we want to hear from you. Do you have a tip or two that you find helps your beloved dog have a better veterinarian visit? Share with us on our Leaps & Bounds Facebook community page.
It’s All About the Veterinarian
Just as you have a connection with your dog, you must also have a connection with your veterinarian. After all, you’re trusting this person with caring for your dog. You must trust your veterinarian and allow this person to make decisions about how to treat your dog. As well, your dog must respond well to your veterinarian. Of course, your dog isn’t going to be best pals with your veterinarian, but your dog will react if he senses unease within your veterinarian.
Look for a veterinarian who is an obvious animal lover. Don’t be shy about asking your veterinarian questions about his/her credentials and experience. Also, look beyond the veterinarian to the people running the clinic and the veterinarian assistants. They should be creating a welcoming and comforting environment for your dog.
Comfort Starts at Home
Before leaving for the veterinarian, make sure your dog is ready for the trip in the car. Make sure he’s been fed, had a drink of water, and has gone to the bathroom. Remember, the anxiety associated with taking a trip to the veterinarian may make your dog react in unexpected ways.
Some dogs like to have their favorite blanket or toy with them in their carrier. This can help them feel at ease and give them some comfort at the veterinarian’s office. As well, your dog sees with his nose and some dogs do react well to calming scents. Yes, aromatherapy for your dog – a few drops of lavender oil on your dog’s favorite blanket can help aid in keeping him calm.
If your dog has joint discomfort or arthritis, think of how comfortable your dog is in his carrier. You might want to use a small supportive pillow or extra padding to alleviate joint pressure.
Everyone Likes a Treat
Keeping your dog occupied and calm in the waiting room can be a challenge. Think about bringing your dog’s Kong toy or hollow bone filled with his favorite treats. Having something to chew on and keep his mind focused can distract him from the new environment. Give your dog an extra edge and bring some Leaps & Bounds natural chews – his favorite treat that also provides much need joint mobility support.
You might also want to bring some treats that you can use as a reward for your dog’s good behavior at the veterinarian. Do you bring treats with you to the veterinarian? Tell us how you use them on our Leaps & Bounds Facebook community page.
Skip the Carrier
If your veterinarian doesn’t require you bring your dog in a carrier – you might want to skip the carrier. If you typically don’t use a carrier when transporting your dog in the car, your dog will quickly associate the carrier with the veterinarian. This causes extra stress and anxiety for everyone – it’s not easy to get your dog in the carrier and your dog will immediately become stressed out.
So, talk to your veterinarian – if the office is okay with you bringing your dog in on his harness and lead, do this instead. Any small steps you can take to put your dog at ease will simply make the experience so much better.
Think of How Your Dog Feels
This might sound a bit hokey, but seriously – we want you to imagine you are your dog. Imagine how you would feel if you were comfortably sleeping, woken up, forced into the carrier, and suddenly find yourself at a strange place with lots of unknown smells.
Of course, you’d be nervous and stressed. Do what you can to keep your dog calm and settled. Every dog is unique – you might be lucky and have a dog who sees the veterinarian visit as an adventure. The number one goal, is to keep your dog calm – and to keep yourself calm.