Dogs make wonderful companions. Their loyalty is unparalleled, and they love us unconditionally. But sometimes, handling them can be a challenge, especially when it’s time for their annual vet visit.
Want to help us make your dog’s experience with us enjoyable and stress-free? Here are some tips:
Frequently Handle Your Dog’s Feet, Ears, and Mouth
Dogs that are used to having their paws, ears, and mouths touched are much less likely to become agitated or stressed when we have to perform procedures such as nail trims, ear examinations and cleanings, and oral health evaluations. Make sure to handle these areas of the body frequently when your dog is in a calm, relaxed state at home. Using rewards like treats to encourage calm behavior during handling of these areas can be a great tool!
Take Them for A Walk
Take your dog for a walk around your neighborhood before coming in for a routine appointment. Dogs that have been walked before entering the animal hospital tend to be calmer and more relaxed. If your dog is coming to us because they’re sick, we recommend skipping this step.
We LOVE to spoil our dog patients! We often use treats such as cheese and peanut butter to distract dogs during any unpleasant procedures and to reward good behavior. They are much more excited about these treats when they are HUNGRY, so for routine appointments we ask that you consider bringing your dog in with an appetite! If you have a morning appointment scheduled with us, we recommend feeding half of their usual morning meal before coming in (the other half can be fed as soon as you get home). If you have an afternoon appointment, we recommend feeding a full morning meal, but taking it easy on treats throughout the day. Of course, if your dog is sick or has a condition that requires regular food intake, this tip should be avoided.
Bring Your Dog’s Toy
Does your dog have a favorite toy? Bring it with you! As long as your dog is not territorial about their toy, this can be a great way to make your dog more comfortable in the exam room. We do ask that you wait to offer the toy to your dog until you are taken to an exam room as there may be other dogs in the lobby who would LOVE to take that toy away!
Keep Their Collar and Leash Secure
Your dog may enjoy playing with others, but there could be dogs in the lobby that are scared, agitated, or even aggressive toward other dogs. For the safety of all of our clients and patients, it is imperative that all dogs be leashed upon entering the building. Retractable leashes are not ideal in a clinic setting unless they are locked in a short position. Take a moment before entering to make sure your dog’s collar is appropriately tightened. The collar is adequately fastened when you are able to fit two fingers underneath it – no more and no less.
Bring Stool at Time of Appointment
Veterinary visits often require fecal examinations for your pet. In an effort to keep your dog’s visit with us as stress-free as possible, we suggest bringing in a stool sample at the time of your appointment. This way, the often unpleasant experience of obtaining a stool sample directly from your dog can be avoided.