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How to Help Your Dog Love the Vet

Trips to the vet can be a difficult time for many dogs—and, by extension, their increasingly stressed owners. If your pooch isn't a big fan of going to see their doctor, don't worry: there are things the two of you can work on together that will help them to understand there's nothing to be scared of, and go into medical situations calmer and happier than ever before.

Make vet trips part of your weekly walking routine.

If your veterinary surgery is close enough to walk over to once a week or so on your daily outings, little visits can be a great way to help acclimatise your dog to the building—and ultimately you'll find that's all you need to help them chill out. If going to the vet is a normal, pleasurable experience, they won't freak out about it when it's checkup time.

Many local vet surgeries will accommodate this. You just need to pop in for two minutes, give them a treat, maybe get them on the waiting room scales to help you monitor their weight, let the receptionists and any other passing staff give them a stroke and head on out again. It won't take many of these visits before your dog trots into the surgery with its tail wagging, eagerly anticipating the attention.  

Use treats liberally while you're approaching and waiting for your appointments.

If your dog is at all food-driven, you can use tasty, healthy dog treats to make every vet experience, no matter the reason, so much easier. Give treats for everything your dog does well like approaching the door without digging in their paws and lying down quietly in the waiting room. When they're not doing those things, catch and hold their attention till they do by getting them into a sit/stay and making them wait a little longer for another delicious morsel.

There are some procedures, however—particularly anything involving an anaesthetic, and some kinds of blood tests and scans—for which your dog will have to fast. Make sure you ask your vet about this in advance and avoid giving them treats if they're not supposed to be eating at all.

Project the energy you want your dog to reflect.

Dogs are very observant animals, particularly when it comes to their owners. One of the best things you can do to help your dog maintain their inner calm is to maintain your own inner calm. If you're chill, they're chill. This can be more easily said than done, but if you're able to project a sense of peace and settledness yourself it will help your dog understand there's no threat and everything's going to be okay. 

Visit a local vet for more info.