Fear-free veterinary visits is a dream that all pet parents hope they can make come true. At least, you know that you are not the only one complaining about how your pampered pooch tucks his tail and hides behind you as you approach the clinic door.
I mean, let’s face it. It’s no secret that dogs hate going to the vet and stress about it this much. Can you blame them? Of course, NOt! Dogs, and pets in general, develop a fear of the vet and the vet office for one reason or another. It could be simply because of a bad memory they have, the sounds, or maybe even the smells. However, no matter the cause, annual check-ups and vaccinations are critical to your dog’s health and well being. Thus, trips to the vet are absolutely necessary.
So, how can you help your dog have fear-free veterinary visits? Here are some effective tips that will certainly help make this easier on your dog and on you too!
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1. Reward your dog’s good behavior
Want fear-free veterinary visits? First, Don’t feed your dog for two to three hours before bringing him to the vet. I don’t say, you should bring him hungry but keep his meals light enough to maintain his appetite before the vet visit. Second, make sure you bring plenty of treats to reward his good behavior from the waiting room to the exam table. Dogs are more likely to be tempted by treats, especially if they are still hungry.
Besides, treats are a smart way to calm your dog during vet visits, provide positive reinforcement, and encourage good behavior.
2. fear-free veterinary visits? Keep Them Occupied
How can I keep my dog occupied, you ask? Easy peasy. You should make sure your four-legged friend is both occupied and comfortable. I know, it’s not always easy. I have been there, and I still struggle with my Husky every time I take him to the vet. But trust me, sometimes this trick works wonders and can save you lots of hassle!
So, if your four-legged friend tends to get really nervous and stressed during vet visits, you can try bringing his favorite toy. This will not only keep him busy while in the car or the waiting room but will also provide a familiar scent and source of comfort in a scary and strange environment.
3. Fear-free visits require a happy visit first
What does this mean? Before making an appointment for regular check-ups or vaccinations, you should first schedule a happy visit, say a meet and greet with your dog’s vet before his next appointment. You might think it’s useless, but it’s a very useful way to help your dog relax, feel more comfortable, and less stressed during vet visits.
In fact, many veterinary clinics started to encourage “happy visits” where the vet and the staff get the chance to be introduced to the dog and feed them some yummy treats so that he can build happy memories about the clinic and won’t be stressed or anxious the next time you bring him.
4. Take your dog on a happy car ride
If every time you take your dog on a car ride, you end up at the veterinary clinic, then your dog won’t enjoy them that much. Apart from this, you will struggle every time you take him on a car ride, and guess what? You are the only one to blame. You need to prove to your four-legged friend that car rides don’t always end up at the vet. And to do this, you need to take your pampered pooch on an exciting and joyful car ride with a yummy treat or walk in the park. This will help your dog associate car rides with other happy experiences. Thus, reduce stress levels and guarantee fear-free veterinary visits.
5. Give your dog Calming supplements
In case you have tried all the mentioned tricks but still suffer during vet visits, you have no option but to use dog calming supplements. For instance, you can try to give your dog a Composure™. The latter is used to promote calm and stress-free behavior before a vet visit. This calming supplement is clinically proven to be effective within 30 minutes, and its effect can last up to 4 hours. You can always double and even triple the amount of Composure for your dog if he was extra stressed or anxious. The good thing about this dog calming supplement is that it comes in various flavors and all you should do is let your dog pick his favorite!
How about you? What are the tips and tricks you used to make your dog’s vet visit stress-free?