Whether it's for an annual wellness visit or something more serious, taking a trip to the veterinarian's office can cause anxiety for your pup (and you!). Here are five tips to support your visit!
How do I prepare for a vet visit?
Bring a notebook: Prepare in advance so you can focus on your dog and remember important information you need to share with the vet. Write down any questions you have for the vet ahead of time, the food and serving size your dog receives daily, and any medications they’re on. It can also be helpful to have a running list of allergies and any previous medical incidents. Your vet will have a medical record, but since they see so many patients, it can be helpful to remind them of anything concerning.
As the vet shares important information about your dog and any action items for their health plan, write them down so you’re not stressed about remembering them later. Ask your vet tech for a print-out of instructions as well.
How do I prepare my dog for a vet visit?
Allow yourself extra time: There’s nothing worse than being rushed! If your dog isn’t a fan of car rides, or experiences stress at the vet in general, they might need some extra time. Pencil in 5-10 extra minutes to give your pup a walk around the parking lot or building so they can get some sniffs in before heading inside and also do their business. Just like hoomans, being a little nervous can increase the “gotta go” feeling!
Sniffing is a great enrichment activity for dogs. Did you know that sniffing for 20-30 minutes straight will be just as tiring as an hour-long walk?
How do I make my dog less anxious at the vet?
Bring a high-reward treat: Using a high-value treat during a particularly stressful event can both distract your dog and positively reinforce the environment. This technique can also be used during thunderstorms, fireworks, car rides, or other anxiety-provoking situations.
What makes a treat high-value? Of course, it should be tasty and healthy, but it should also be unique. We recommend our gut-healthy Cricket Jerky. It’s soft, flavorful, and easy to tear off the exact size you need.
Encourage your dog: If your dog is skittish or anxious at the vet, encourage them verbally and with a high-reward treat. To the best of your ability, allow them to walk at their own pace from the lobby to the exam room. Encourage them to hop up onto the scale or exam table on their own. Share your high-reward treats with your vet or vet tech, so they can encourage them as well.
To the best of your ability, avoid forcing your dog into any situation, as this will negatively reinforce their fear and anxiety.
Stay calm: Dogs have the ability to understand their owners moods and be impacted by them. They are emotionally intelligent, and can pick up on chemical and physiological cues that their owners give off. By doing your best to remain calm, your dog will know they have a safe space with you and not be triggered by any stressors you’re experiencing.