Is Your Dog Scared of the Vet? Here’s How You Can Help
It’s common for dogs to be fearful during their vet visits. Anxieties won’t make for a pleasant experience for you, your dog, or your vet, so you and your vet should work together to relive the anxiety for your dog. Learn to reduce fear in your pet and what to expect from your vet. Vets can help you to identify fear as early as possible, make sure you’re aware, and minimize worsening their fear.
The last thing you want is for your dog to bite the vet, another dog, or another patron of your veterinarian, and of course you don’t want your dog to feel terrified every time you take him or her in for a checkup. Here are some of the ways that you can help to minimize your dog’s fears.
Prevent Continuous Bad Experiences
If your dog is terrified on the first visit, don’t ignore this and assume it will get better. Any veterinarian should be sensitive to this issue and acknowledge the dog’s fear by comforting them and planning how to make the next visit better.
Consider a “typical” vet visit, full of unknown smells, commotion, and unpleasant procedures. If fears aren’t addressed early on, they will intensify with repeated experiences.
Identify Fearful Behavior
Fearful behavior isn’t always obvious. You might only be looking for signs like barking, whimpering, or running into the corner, but even just a downward glance, a lack of eye contact, and obsessive licking or panting can indicate an anxious dog.
Anxiety signs can also be misinterpreted. Flopping down on the floor can be misinterpreted as just wanting some rubs, but this could also mean they’re nervous and making themselves harder to pick up.
Begin Reducing Fears at Home
Your dog shouldn’t have an issue with body exploration. From the face to the mouth, ears, toes, and tail, nothing should be out of bounds for you when it comes to handling your own pup. Your dog might be uncomfortable when a new person touches them, but it will be easier at the vet if all areas have already been explored in their safe environment by someone they trust.
Discuss extreme cases with your veterinarian and an animal behaviorist.
Don’t Forget About The Ride to the Vet
Anxiety can begin in your driveway. By the time you get to the vet they could be nauseous, anxious or both. Consider using seat belts, special carriers, or dog travel tapes if your dog does not like to ride in the car. Make sure that he’s comfortable when he arrives at the vet’s office.
It is very important that you refrain from anxious baby talk in a high voice. What you give off will transfer to your dog. Treat the visit like it is just another fun car ride.
Address Concerns in the Waiting Room
Early signs of anxiety walking into the waiting room means that it should simply be avoided. Walk outside the hospital so your dog can sniff around. If they are happy in the car, stay there and ask to be called in when it’s your turn. Consider having a staff member meet you outside first with treats, petting, and soft voices.
It’s unfortunately near-impossible to avoid other animals in the waiting room. Even cats commonly scare dogs, but they can overcome it with your help. Limit time and commotion in the waiting room to respect their boundaries.
You never know what anxiety can bring out in your dog. In addition to working with your dog to keep him or her safe and comfortable, make sure you’re prepared with dog bite insurance. A dangerous situation can happen unexpectedly, and our Canine Liability Insurance will help you to be prepared.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.