if you have ever felt the frustration of enticing your pooch to go to the vet’s, you will want to read this. Getting in the clinic door when Pup wants to exit stage right, or his total disdain for car rides can really make for a tough day.
How can you make going to the veterinarian fun?
It’s not always easy — especially if your pooch would rather be napping on the couch!
Here are some tips to help you make things somewhat smoother :
1. One pet per trip
Take only one pet along per appointment. The sight of anyone leashed to three, 40 kg doggies being dragged, full tilt, down the sidewalk toward the nearest fire hydrant — well, it is not pretty for the dog owner, or pleasant for the worried clinic staff to witness. If you have been there and done that, you should remember that if the combined weight of the pets is greater than yours, it’s best to askfriends or family to lend a hand for the trip!
2. Calm kids only
Bring along only those children who can be calm and attentive during the visit. It is fun to let them share the excitement of a trip into the vet’s, but trying to bring along lively children together with a nervous dog can take the “fun” right out of the trip. Too many children can be just as taxing as multiple pets!
3. Going for rides
Frequently take your dog for short drives that don’t include going to the vet’s. If a puppy or dog is used to travel your stress levels will be lower too!
4. Use some restraint
Keepthe dog or lively pup on a leash, and the collar snug when not kennelled. Watching your little buddy slip out of his collar at the front door of the clinic and running off is frightening.
5. Cover all bases
Big tip here — if your four-legged friend is experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or oozing something, be sure your transport vehicle is well protected. A moisture-proof seat or compartment cover should be used if a carrier is unavailable. Nothing beats an hour or two scrubbing up a mess — or the expense of a trip to the car detailer for removal of unmentionables — many dollars later, you will be thinking of this tip!
6. It’s the pain talking
Animals in pain may bite! A trip to the vet’s is not much fun if your next trip is to the hospital emergency department for a wound repair. Remember to protect yourself during the trip. Bumpy rides may just put a suffering pup over the edge, so that when you reach into his carrier to pick him up…chomp… ouch. Talk to your vet before transport for advice on safety if a pet is in pain.
7. Treats & toys
For routine visits, bring along a favorite toy so that you can play with puppy if there is a wait. Bring along a favorite snack if it does not make him too excitable. When Pup behaves well, this way you can reward that good behaviour.
8. Remember the paperwork
If this is a trip to a new vet, bring all of your records with you. Make sure you tell them if the dog has had a previous reaction to any meds or vaccines. Bring along previous vaccine, worming and registration and guarantee papers if this is a new puppy — you’ll be glad you did. This will help the team process any recommendations. And if you have insurance for your pup, bring along the details so any paperwork can be processed with minimal disruption.
9. Once bitten
Give staff aheads up if your pet has bitten the last vet or their assistants — very much appreciated! We like our fingers and faces.
10. Making friend
Get to know your vet and their team. This will make the trips to the vet a lot more fun. Knowing the practice well will help you to be comfortable, and Pup will get to know the routine. Start early with proper socialization and obedience training. This can make going to the vet’s a lot easier for all! A pup who knows other people aren’t scary, and knows the basics such as “sit”, “come” and “stay” will be a pup that will be under your control in a strange and exciting place. All those doggie smells around the clinic can really excite a pup!
Just because your dog is really sick, don’t assume he will hang around if you forget the leash. A dog who is lying around at home, seemingly
on death’s doorstep, will sometimes get a second wind when out in the stiff breeze and may bolt from your arms if given the chance, He may
happily head for the hills when set down on the ground while you grapple with purse and keys! These things do happen.
Veterinarians often get asked for sedatives. Sedatives should never be a substitute for gentle, gradual training. They are variably effective, as well, getting the dose correct to calm a dog, but not to over sedate, is sometimes a real challenge. Tipsy Tuffy is not easy to move around especially if he is a giant breed dog! As well, overweight, pug-nosed, senior, paediatric, or an animal who is unwell are all at increased risk of side effects of sedatives, so they must be used cautiously. Each animal has a different reaction to the sedatives, so no standard dose will work equally well in different animals of equal body weight — some fine tuning may be needed. Sedatives may be helpful if the veterinarian prescribes them for your dog, but they should never be used as a crutch.
Making the trip “fun” sometimes might be a bit of a reach, but proper preparation will at least help to make the day low stress. Always remember to call ahead if circumstances are not routine — an injured or aggressive pet may require extra handling so to keep the trip high on fun factor and low on stress — plan ahead.
A dog with motion sickness or a real aversion to car rides may be slowly accommodated to going to the vet by following this advice:
- Inviting him into in the parked car at home, giving praise or treats, then just take him back into the house. This is repeated until he willingly jumps in for the treats.
- Next, sit with your dog in the car for a while, then again, just go back to the house, and offer treats or praise for calm, cooperative behaviour.
- Then, over the next while, take him for short rides everywhere you go. Put his favourite toy and/or blankie in the car and transport him in a familiar crate if he is crate trained — this secure “cubby” will keep him feeling safe.
- When he calmly takes these rides, only then, take a trip to the vet’s — but not to an appointment — just come over and let the staff give him a treat and go home.
- Remember not to use the open back of the pickup truck for transporting your dog to the vet’s — he will jump out! Inside the cab or a crate is safe! Keep them out of the wind for their ears’ sake, and in the cab for warmth and comfort, and of course, they’re fun company