Yesterday Lilly got have her annual vet check-up.So I took a few hours off of work so I could take her to the appointment and to ease into the work week. For the most part Lilly didn’t know that she is going to the vet. She just thought that it is great to get out of the crate early today and sit out on the porch.
Lilly is good about going to the vets so I never have to do anything to calm her down. In fact most of our dogs have had great experiences at the vets so they don’t seem to mind their annual check-up each year. However some dogs it can be a little too stressful and because of the can act fearful or even aggressive. Because we are contemplating on getting another dog in the future I decided to see what you would do in the situation of a scared or aggressive dog at the vets.
On Animal Behavior College Blog I caught an entry from March 15th 2015 on “How prepare your dog for vet visits.” It a short but insightful post laying out the steps you should take for a successful vet visit with your dog. Without going into great detail here are some highlights that I wanted to pass along.
First Socialize your dog; If your dog has not been socialized around new people or other dogs this may bring out a fear or aggressive response in your dog. Think of it as if you are a child, think back to the vulnerability of a doctor's office being handled, looked over intensely then getting a painful shot. For most of us that experience is what keeps us from going to the doctors but for a dog or any animal, there is no real choice. They just have to take it and sometimes not without letting us know how they feel. So get them out and build their social life beyond Facebook.
Get them relaxed; keep the mood positive before and during the ordeal. Start by petting them, rubbing the ears or bellies whatever it takes to calm them down. This also means you need to stay calm as well. If you act tense they will read that and tense up as well so stay relaxed. When the vet appointment is done, treat them so something they really like. This helps dissociates the vet appointment as a negative experience and move it to a positive one.
Exercise them; by playing with them and getting the excess energy out and reduce the incidence of acting out at the vets. So a good game of ball or a walk around the block is recommended, just don’t wear them out too much.
The last two steps is upon making the appointment let the staff know that this is the dog's first time at the vets or they can be a bit hard to handle. This will give the staff a heads up and they can help make the visit better. And to say it again, stay calm. If you are calm and at ease the dog will be better than if you were excited and snapping at them.
Lilly’s appointment went well and she is ready to police the house once again thanks to the staff at Animal Medical Center.