Stress Free Vet Visits?
Vet visits can be a stressful time for our pups. Often, we are visiting the vets because our dogs are unwell or in pain, which not only adds to their stress but can create a negative association with the vet itself. Even for our young dogs who may be feeling fine, they may find a vet check up a bit scary and the vet may have to do something that is uncomfortable or painful, like giving our pups a vaccination. Fortunately, there are a few things we can do to help prepare our dogs. Here are our top tips for how to set your dog up for a successful, stress-free vet visit.
Take them in just to get weighed/given treats
Popping in to the vets on your way past just so the staff can give your pup a cuddle and a treat or to pop your dog on the scales is a great way to get your dog used to the sights, smells and sounds of the vets and to build positive associations with the environment and the people there.
At home, you can take some time to get your dog used to being handled and checked over. Do this gradually, using food to reward your dog, and make sure you never push past your dog’s comfort zone. We want to make sure our dogs have a positive association with handling and can feel comfortable and relaxed. Check out our videos on Dogversity for more info on how to get your dog used to handling.
Teach them useful behaviours, like a “chin touch”
A chin touch is where your dog rests their head in the palm of your hand, and is a great way for getting a dog to stay still for examinations – as well as giving us an early warning sign if the dog is uncomfortable, if they lift their head up off the hand during an exam. This tells us the dog may not be entirely confident or happy, before they need to grumble or snap. You can find our tutorial on training a chin touch on Dogversity.
Teach them to wear a muzzle
There are lots of reasons why teaching a dog to be comfortable with wearing a muzzle is useful. Reasons your dog may need to wear a muzzle at some point in their life include them developing an allergy/intolerance or eating unsafe things on walks (wearing a muzzle will help to prevent them from picking up random things and eating them while out and about), they may develop anxiety or fear towards other people or dogs due to a traumatic incident, or they may need to wear one at the vet! If your vet asks you to muzzle your dog, don’t take this as an insult – even the nicest of dogs could pose a bite risk if they are in paint or frightened, and vets have to restrain and handle our dogs to assess, diagnose and treat them. This could be scary for our dogs even when they are fit and well, let alone if they are sick or in pain. They don’t need the added stress of a strange thing being strapped to their face – muzzle training so they are familiar and comfortable with a muzzle will save them the additional worry. Find more information on muzzle training via our Dogversity