Tips for Getting Your Dog to the Vet

How to Make Trips to the Vet Easier on You and Your Dog

The dreaded trip to the vet. It’s one wrinkle in the otherwise rewarding and fun lives of pet owners and their pets. Many dogs have an inherent fear of the vet – and it’s no wonder. Veterinarian offices are filled with strangers and distressed animals, and there’s no way to let your dog know the veterinarian is only there to help!

As pet parents, it breaks our hearts to see our furry friends panic, so here are 3 tips to make your vet visit less stressful for all involved.

3 Tips to Have a Successful Visit to the Vet

1. Make the Car a Fear-Free Environment.

One big tip-off for dogs that they are headed to the dreaded veterinarian is that a car trip is involved. Stave off this fear by changing your dog’s association with the car and the vet.

Show your dog that car trips can also lead to fun activities. Not only will it be easier to get them in the car, but they will have less anxiety when traveling to any destination.

2. Establish a Pre-Vet Routine.

Animals are smart, and this intuitiveness makes it difficult to simply put your dog into the car and travel to the vet problem-free. You can reduce anxiety by making the day of the vet trip as stress-free as possible.

For your dog, the ASPCA suggests practicing at home the same types of experiences they will have at the vet (being lifted onto a table, being checked behind the ears, etc.) and rewarding them with a treat multiple times.

If you’re using a carrier, consider putting your dog in their carrier an hour or so before you leave so they have time to adjust. Top-loading carriers will make the process even easier.

3. Be Supportive During the Visit.

Bring along your dog’s favorite toys, and plenty of treats to reward them for their cooperation.

It’s also important for you to remain calm! Depending on why you are visiting the vet, you might be distraught or anxious, but animals pick up on these emotions easily and will react by also becoming stressed. Be calm and soothing, and your pet will be more likely to feel better about the situation.

Always talk with your vet about your dog’s specific behavior during these trips as your vet might suggest a different or more individualized approach. Trips to the vet will probably never be something your dog enjoys (or understands), but paying attention to their needs will make the experience easier on both you and your best furry pal.

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Comments 4

  1. Nouble

    I find it funny that this article uses a suggestion from the ASPCA. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good suggestion, but the ASPCA’s an animal rights organization. If I remember correctly, those people want to eradicate pets.

  2. Liz Armeson

    These are some really helpful tips for any pet owner. For the longest time, I couldn’t even get my dog into the car to go to the vet, so checkups were really difficult, and he ended up never going as often as he should. But with some simple training early on it can be really simple and pain-free to bring your dog in for a checkup. I would definitely suggest this article for any new pet owners or those taking their dog in for the first time. Thanks for writing!

  3. Jackie Oliver

    I got a puppy a few months ago, took him to the vet, and it did not go very well. I really want to make sure that next time goes a lot smoother, and that he isn’t as stressed out. I like your suggestion of practicing with it, so that it’s not as big of a shock. Also, next time we go, I’ll be sure to bring his favorite toy, so he feels right at home.

  4. Jackie Oliver

    I really like what you said about creating a pre-vet routine. My dog doesn’t trust me when I put him in the car, because he thinks I’m taking him to the vet. When in reality, I’m usually taking him on some sort of adventure. If I created a different routine when we were going to the vet, I think he would get in the car a little easier for me.

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