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How to make a visit to the vet less traumatic for your dog

Updated on November 29, 2007

If you are a responsible pet owner you will have to take your dog for a check up at your local vet's office at least once a year. It is an experience unto itself as there are so many new dogs and other animals, sounds and smells and when you combine that with the experience that most animals in general do not like much you will get one agitated dog. A neighbor told me a story about her Alsatian who would get so traumatized with every vet visit at one point he jumped out of the window, I kid you not.

To make the process of going to the vet as smooth as possible and most importantly to make it less stressful and traumatic for your dog there are certain steps you can take to make it so. I have already talked about the importance of socializing your dog and that still stands. If you start socializing your dog from a very early age, he or she should be able to cope with new sounds, smells, people and animals more easily. Take your dog to the doggy park or organize a get together with dog owners in the neighborhood, this does not mean your dog will not be scared of the visit to the vets, but he might not get so agitated at the mayhem that might await once you step in the waiting room.

Then you will have to consider the size of your dog. For small dogs a perfect option is a dog carrier. Not only will it ease another added stress of actual transport, but also your dog will feel more secure and protect in the carrier and once you are in the waiting room it means the larger dogs will not be able to invade your dogs space. If you have a larger dog you will need a short leash to avoid the leash getting tangled up around furniture or worse still with other dogs. It should also give you some control in case a scuffle breaks out.

Another thing you might want to consider is a muzzle and it might prove beneficial regardless if you have a smaller or a larger dog. However rather then to leave the muzzle training when the vet visit is due muzzle train your dog prior to the vet visit so otherwise your dog might get even more traumatized then normal.

And do not forget plenty of treats. If your dog does not has to have special tests or an operation that requires no food, treats will come in handy. Reward good behavior but also it will give your dog something else to focus on especially if you have to wait. I always load my pockets with treats and although sometimes my dog does not care for them much while we wait, he does appreciate treats fully when we are on our way home.

Last but not least do keep tabs on your dog's vaccinations and/or any possible health conditions. Plus if your dog has regular vet check ups he or she is more likely to be more relaxed in the vet's office.

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