It’s common for our dogs to be terrified of visiting the vet – after all, it is a foreign place with lots of “scary” smells, people, and objects and – as pet owners, we would do just about anything to ease that fear. Here are our top 5 tips for a happy trip to the vet!
1. Prep At Home
At the clinic, you can be sure that the vet will touch and handle your furkid in ways that you usually don’t, and this could sometimes make them feel uncomfortable, resulting in a struggle or injury. In order to prep for this, practice at home by running your hands through your pooch’s fur, and lifting each limb as if you were inspecting them.
Peel back his lips to expose his teeth, and open his mouth to check his throat. You could also use a cotton bud to gently swab his ears so that he gets used to the feeling of being examined in places that he isn’t usually used to.
2. Here's A Treat
If your dog has a favourite toy or treat, take them with you! Most dogs are either toy- or treat-motivated, and it would help ease their anxiety when the vet is conducting the examination.
Pass some of the treats to the staff as well so that they too can earn his trust.
3. Forgo Breakfast
Stress can sometimes cause our dogs to throw up or even defecate all over the place, so the best way to prevent this is to not give him food too close to the visit.
However, before doing this, please consult your vet first! Let your vet clinic know if your dog has a sensitive stomach so that they would be able to give you the right advice.
4. A Helping Hand
If he is of a larger breed and can be quite a handful, it’s best to have an extra someone who could help you to hold him while the vet is giving the examination.
Although vet assistants are trained, 'scaredy' pets can put up quite a struggle. Having more people who your pup is familiar with would help to ease his anxiety.
5. Keep Calm
As our pets are intuitive, they can sense our anxiety and fear levels too! Stay calm and your dog will be likely to feel that way too.
*This article was updated on 11 Dec 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com.sg on 1 Jun 2016.