Many pet owners often wonder how to make a vet visit less stressful because part of responsible pet ownership is doing regular health checks with a vet. The good news is that there are ways to make your pets less anxious when going to the vet.
In one study on pet behavior in clinical settings, Dr. Petra Edwards found that it’s the responsibility of both pet owners and vets to reduce fear and stress in animals during vet visits.
The people in attendance at a veterinary clinic are frequently the source of anxiety for the animals there. Your pet will be less anxious if you maintain a calm, relaxed demeanor.
Training Can Help Your Pet
Guardians have to train their pets from a young age to become familiar with the vet and the clinic. Proper socialization, positive interaction with the vet staff during handling, and positive reinforcement can help a growing puppy become less anxious.
You can use treats to reward pets for certain behaviors and encourage them to repeat the desired behavior, like climbing the examination table or letting the vet hold them.
The Upper Pawside has a list of treats you can use for your training sessions. But for the treats to be effective, don’t feed your dog before you go to the vet.
One way how to make a vet visit less stressful is to let the vet and the staff give your pet treats. This will teach them to socialize with the staff and associate the positive interaction with the vet and the place.
Some vets use soft basket muzzles for safety. You can place peanut butter in the muzzle to calm the dog or hold your dog to make it feel safer during its initial visit.
Know Your Pet’s Triggers
Pet owners should also recognize what makes their dogs anxious or stressed. Once they realize that certain sounds, objects, or other pets can agitate their dogs, they can wait until the triggers are gone and move into the clinic. It's best to wait in your car and let your pet calm down before walking into the clinic. If you have trained your pet to stay in a crate when traveling, the crate can serve as a barrier to the trigger and make them feel safe.
Bring Their Favorite Toys
You can also bring their favorite toys and blankets so they will feel comfortable during the consultation. If you brought treats, let the vet or the staff give them to your dog for socialization and as a positive reinforcement for good behavior.
If your pet is due for a major operation at the vet’s, ask your vet for pain relief medication. This is another way they would not associate the pain with the clinic visit.
The First Visit To The Vet Should Be Positive
When pet owners ask how to make a vet visit less stressful, it’s important to consider how the pet’s first experience was at the vet’s. It’s best to make your pet’s first visit to the vet a positive one. But, sometimes, the anxiety of other dogs, guardians, and the owner could make the pet stressed too.
You can make your pet familiar with the vet clinic. This will help desensitize it to the equipment, smells, and the presence of other animals in the vet. Desensitization can make an animal gradually used to the clinic.
Making the first visit to the vet a social visit and less of a medical or health check can make it easier for pets and owners, too. Stopping by to receive a treat from the vet on a regular basis can lessen anxiety when you have to go for a check-up.
When a dog becomes aggressive at the vet, it’s mainly because of fear. Schedule the first or last slot available at the vet's for your pet so there would be fewer triggers, and you will be able to identify the source of fear.
Work With The Veterinarian And Staff
Working with the vet and their staff is the best way to make your pets less stressed when they go to the clinic. If your dog is too fearful or aggressive, it's in the best interest of your pet and the staff to make you and your pet stay outside.
If you want to know how to help a dog with anxiety when visiting the vet, waiting for your pet to calm down in the car is the best way. Once you have prepared them with positive reinforcement or the triggers are gone, you may then bring your pet inside.
Allow the vet and their staff to give your pet treats before and after a possibly painful experience, like giving injections and taking its temperature.
If you’re concerned about your pet and are wondering how do I make my vet trip less stressful, you could volunteer to be present in the consultation room. You can help the vet handle your pet, and your presence will surely make your pet more comfortable.
When a dog becomes aggressive, training tools such as muzzles and leashes can help restrain it. Once your dog has calmed down, allow the vet to reward it with a treat.
Every dog is sensitive in its own way when visiting the vet, so pet owners should understand their dog's body language and the external triggers that can make them anxious.
Take Your Pet To A Fun Place Before Or After The Vet Visit
Once your dog completes the medical consultation, take it to its favorite place, whether it’s a park, beach, or pet store. Rewarding your pet for going to the vet makes the visit worth it in your pet's eyes.
Make sure to do this regularly each time you go to the vet, so the dog will develop a positive association with visiting the clinic.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Make My Vet Visit Easier?
Proper training, positive reinforcement, and working with your vet can make going to the vet a more pleasant experience for your pet and you. Positive reinforcement using treats and interactions can help a dog feel less anxious.
Desensitization techniques, like familiarizing your pet with the surroundings and the sounds and smells of a clinic, are also good ways to calm them down.
Finally, proper socialization with the vet and the staff can make vet visits easier for pets and their owners. You can make regular social visits to the vet, which lessens their anxiety when they go there for a health check-up.
How Do I Calm Down My Dog Before A Vet Visit?
One way to make vet visits easier is to take your pet to a positive place, such as a park for some fun activity before and after going to the vet. It can be any place as long as your pet enjoys going there. Combining your vet visits with a positive experience can make the vet visit less scary for your dog.