Fear of the veterinarian can be fairly easy to conquer with a little time and effort
New Delhi, December 18, 2019: A fear of going to see the veterinarian is one of the most common phobias in dogs. Even the most happy-go- lucky canine may cower in fear as you try to coax him through the door of your veterinarian’s office. From the minute they enter the clinic door, they are confronted by strange smells, unusual sounds and slippery floors. Not fun! However, regular veterinary visits should be a part of every dog’s life. Your dog will need to visit your vet frequently as a young pup, and will need to go at least once yearly as an adult. If your dog becomes sick or gets hurt at any time, this will be the first place you take him. Hence, it is important that going to the veterinary office be pleasant and your dog not be stressed by trips there.
The good news is that a fear of the veterinarian can be fairly easy to conquer with a little time and effort, especially if you follow these tips for making visits a little less stressful. This serves not only to reduce stress on your pet, but to allow the veterinary staff to effectively treat your dog. Every experience that your dog has at your vet’s office shapes his memory about that place. A single scary visit, especially during his sensitive socialization period as a puppy can set your dog up to fear the veterinary clinic for life. In order for you and your dog to develop a quality relationship, it is important to find a veterinarian that you like and trust. Each dog has different likes and dislikes, and should be handled in a unique way that sets them up for a stress-free visit. A standing relationship is important as your dog learns to trust your veterinarian and you can develop consistency in your dog’s care.
Every vet visit should be a fun and special time for your dog. Start by remaining calm at all times. Your pet trusts you more than anyone else on the planet, and he looks to you for cues. If you are stressed, your pet will be stressed, too. Use a calm, quiet voice and plenty of pats to help keep your pet relaxed. Bring your own treats with you at every visit. Your dog can get these treats when he enters the office, when he is showing calm behaviour in the waiting room, and when the doctor is handling him and drawing blood or giving vaccinations. Unfortunately, if your dog is at the vet for vomiting or diarrhoea, treats can likely not be given. In this case you can bring his favourite toy or something that may smell like home along for the trip. If your dog is showing signs of fear or protest to being handled, or simply showing signs of stress while at the clinic, you should consider taking him on subsequent ‘happy visits’ there.
This would involve going to the clinic, waiting in the lobby, getting on the scale, and going into an exam room and being handled at a level where he is comfortable…all while getting treats. Your veterinary can help guide you through what level your pet can handle with each
visit. Gentle, low-stress handling methods should be used by all personnel who interact with your dog at a veterinary office. This means that they should not use punishment, correction, or verbal scolding towards your dog at any time. Please ask your veterinarian for guidance on at-home handling tool training.
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