Listed here are ways to calm your dog when going to the vet.
Make Positive Associations
If you live close to your veterinarian’s office, one strategy is to make frequent trips to the office while providing your dog with a tasty reward. Talk to your veterinarian ahead of time to make sure he or she is okay with this arrangement, and if there is a time of day that is best. Many receptionists are more than happy to provide a treat for a nervous pet. Over time, your dog will begin to associate positive outcomes with the veterinarian’s office.
If your dog is going to the veterinarian for a routine checkup, as opposed to an emergency, take your pet for an extra-long walk or run beforehand. The exercise will tire out your pup, leaving him or her less anxious for the impending exam.
A thunder shirt is a dog anxiety vest that works by applying pressure to areas of the dog’s body that have been proven to have a calming effect. Thunder shirts are useful during storms, fireworks, and other stressful situations. Simply put the thunder shirt on your dog before getting in the car, and keep it on your pet until the veterinarian asks for it to be removed (which may or may not be necessary, depending on the reason for the visit). According to the manufacturer, thunder shirts have an 80% success rate in calming anxious animals.
Certain ingredients have been shown to have a calming effect on anxious dogs, such as passion flower, chamomile, L-Theanine, Valerian root, hops, and Hawthorn berry. These treats can be given 15 – 30 minutes before an appointment, and can also help the dog make positive associations with the experience.
Adaptil is a calming pheromone spray that can be used on your dog’s crate, bedding, or collar to provide relief for anxiety. Use this spray prior to loading your dog into the car.
For severe cases of stress, talk to your veterinarian about anxiety-reducing medications that could make your dog’s visit less stressful.
With these helpful tips, even the most anxious of dogs can be calmed before a visit to the veterinarian!
Please note: all dogs should be treated as individuals. The Actijoy blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In case of emergency, always seek qualified healthcare from a local veterinarian or emergency facility. Actijoy blogs are not designed to treat, diagnose, or prescribe medication for your pet.