Getting veterinary care for your puppy is essential for his health, but getting your dog to the vet can be stressful. Here are 5 ways to make going to the vet no big deal.
1. Find a vet you love
Many times, we choose a veterinary clinic based on location – who’s closest to me? But it’s better to do a bit more research before you make your first appointment.
Before your first visit, go online and check out the reviews for the vet clinic. Read their Facebook posts, watch their videos if they have them, and try to get an idea of whether you’ll feel comfortable at that clinic.
Are the receptionists friendly and polite? Does the clinic have a bad odor? Is there chaos with dogs barking and no sense of order?
When you find a place you like, make an appointment to see the vet. You could ask to speak to the vet before you make an appointment, but don’t be surprised or put off if they’re busy and can’t talk. They are the doctor after all.
When meeting the vet, the number one thing to evaluate is their comfort level with your animal. Are they friendly with the animal, does your pet seem comfortable with the vet? Are they patient with nervous animals or do they move quickly like they’re ready to get out of there?
2. Trust your vet
Once you find a vet that meets your expectations, you have to trust them to do what’s best. Sometimes puppies will struggle when they get their temperature taken or get a shot.
Allow your vet or their assistants to restrain your pet if needed. It’s for everyone’s safety including your dog’s. A fearful pet can even bite or scratch their owner in the heat of the moment.
Veterinary staff are trained to restrain animals safely so that they can get the care they need while making sure no one gets hurt.
Your veterinarian will recommend certain vaccinations and deworming for your puppy. Puppies need a series of vaccines while they’re young just like human babies do.
Unlike humans, puppies are born with intestinal parasites. So your veterinarian will also recommend deworming your pet multiple times as well as checking their stool for parasites.
Trust what your veterinarian recommends. Sometimes, puppies are sent with recommendations from a breeder or you may see certain things online. It’s important that you trust your veterinarian over those sources as they are trained in animal medicine.
3. Make a vet trip fun
Young puppies are usually pretty excited to experience new things, but some puppies are very nervous. If your puppy is scared when you go to the vet, it’s important to train him from the beginning that going to the vet is fun.
You can bring treats and toys from home so that your puppy has something familiar to play with. Reward your puppy with treats when they appear relaxed. But don’t expect your puppy to have perfect manners.
If your puppy barks at other animals, try to redirect her behavior to one of her toys. Or if you’ve already taught her to sit, try to get her to focus on you and repeat some of her training.
Whatever you do, it’s important you don’t push them out of their comfort zone. They might lash out and snap if they get really scared. So when all else fails, just ignore the negative behavior and reward them when they calm down.
4. If you stay calm, they’ll stay calm
Dogs easily pick up on your emotions. If you’re stressed, they’ll stress. If you’re frustrated, they’ll get anxious. So try to remain calm even if you’re worried about what is going to happen or your vet is busy and you have to wait a bit.
A lot of pet owners are very sensitive to their pets getting hurt or restrained during a veterinary exam. A good veterinarian will be able to assure you that your pet is safe and well.
Vaccinations can sting a little, but it’s well worth the temporary discomfort for them to be protected against deadly diseases. Nail trims are sometimes a bit of a struggle, but allowing your veterinarian to do them when your puppy is young will help them tolerate the procedure as they get older.
Your pet will notice your anxiety if you start to worry while the vet is treating them. So take a deep breath and remember #2, you must trust that your vet has your pet’s best interest at heart.
5. Take your pet for a walk before you go
A good thing to do to help your puppy stay calm is to give them plenty of opportunities to run and play. Just like little kids need to run and play, puppies need lots of time to get their energy out.
Maybe take a walk around the neighborhood or spend a few minutes playing ball before you head out to the veterinarian. If they’re getting shots, they may be sore or tired afterward, so letting them have some fun before the vet makes sure they don’t miss out on playtime.
If they aren’t tired or sore, you can certainly reward them with a few more minutes of play after you get home from the doctor’s office. This will assure them that everything is okay and help them be less fearful of future visits.
Those are our tips for going to the vet
If you do all the things mentioned above, you can reassure a nervous puppy and make sure that your veterinary trips are a good experience for them.
Even if your puppy isn’t nervous at the vet, following these tips will confirm that they don’t need to be worried when you head to the doctor.