Most dogs don't normally associate going to the vet with happy times. In fact, going to the vet can be a huge source of stress for your dog. At times, you can see how stressed your dog might become at the mere mention of going to the vet or as you approach the clinic. Going to the vet doesn't necessarily have to be a negative and scary experience, as most dog owners believe. With just a little preparation and these 3 tips, you can greatly improve the overall experience of visiting a vet clinic for your dog:
Associate Positive Reinforcements with Being Handled Ahead of Time
Many dogs begin to feel stressed out when strangers handle them constantly, which is what a vet will have to do when performing an examination. Help your dog get used to being handled by associating this type of action with positive reinforcements. Common areas where most dogs are sensitive to touch include the top of their heads, their muzzles, their paws, their ears and their tails. Before taking your dog to the vet, handle various parts of their body like their bellies or their paws, and give them a treat or a toy as a reward whenever you do. They'll become much friendlier with strangers, and the vet will have a much easier time handling them throughout the visit.
Give Your Dog Ample Time to Get Used to the New Environment and Strangers
Going to the vet clinic can also be a scary experience because of all of the new stimuli that are present. Your dog simply gets too overwhelmed by all of the new scents they smell, all of the new people they meet, and how different the environment is from what they're accustomed to. You should arrive at the vet clinic early for your appointment, especially if it is your dog's first time. Let your dog get to know the staff members and the vet. The more they play and interact with the staff members and vet, the more comfortable they'll be during the examination.
Offer Lots of Praises and Treats
Even if your dog didn't seem to mind going to the vet, you want to shower them with praise and treats throughout the visit and even after the visit. Some owners might even want to start praising and giving treats to their dog on the car ride to the clinic in order to ease their stress. You might even want to consider bringing along a bag of your dog's favourite treats with you to the clinic and have the staff members or the vet give a treat or two to your dog.
If you are diligent from the start, your dog should feel at ease when going to the vet clinic. They shouldn't exhibit any signs of stress or duress. Contrary to belief, going to the vet clinic can actually be a positive and fun experience for your dog if you do it right.