Taking your dog to the vet need not be a stressful event, if you follow a few basic guidelines. A little preparation beforehand goes a long way.
1. Teach your dog to stand and allow you to touch him all over. You should look in his mouth and ears, then pick up all his paws (one at a time) check his nails and in-between his pads. Next lift up his tail and run your hand down his back. Now repeat with a different person handling your dog. This a great exercise to repeat on a regular basis.
2. Train your do to be relaxed and calm around people and dogs. Initially do this outside the clinic environment. Practice calm greetings with friendly human strangers.
3. To ensure your dog doesn’t associate vet clinics with a negative experience, it’s a good idea to pop in from time to time. Pop him on the scales or purchase flea/tick product and say hi. Usually the staff are only too happy to reward your dog with a few tasty treats.
4. Always take your dog in to the vet clinic on a lead.
5. Get your dog to focus on you and be calm when you get to the door of the practice. Provided your dog isn’t having a procedure requiring an anaesthetic take a pocketful of treats and use them to reward your dog when he begins to calm. Start with your dog walking through the door in a reasonably calm state. Don’t allow him to walk in the door in front of you as there may be a dog or other animal there that takes your dog’s attention.
6. Once inside the consult room continue to reward your dog for being calm and relaxed. Try to be as unemotional as you can while the vet examines your dog. Anxious humans make their dogs anxious.
7. Take the time to find the right vet for your dog. You need to be able to have a mutually healthy, honest and respectful communication with your vet. I’m fortunate to have a great team of vets who have extensive knowledge and consistently listen to my queries and concerns. They always have the best interests of my animals at heart. If you don’t have this, then consider finding a veterinary practice that does.