Annual wellness checks and necessary veterinary care can add years to your dog’s life. Unfortunately, we do not always enjoy the things that are good for us—which is also true for our furry friends. If your dog would rather get a bath and play with the cat than visit the vet, we have a few tips for you. Use our tips to calm your dog for a visit to the vet:

Create New Associations to Calm Your Dog

For many dogs, the only time they ride in the car is when they go to the vet – and the only time they go to the vet is to get poked and prodded. Creating new associations for each of these experiences can help you minimize your dog’s anxiety before your next visit. If you usually only pack your dog into the car before a veterinary appointment, try to make some trips to fun locations. Visit parks farther from your house, schedule a playdate with a doggy friend, or spend some time at the dog park. Call your veterinarian and ask if it is okay to stop by just to say hi. Give your dog the opportunity to do some sniffing, greet the staff, and end the short visit with a treat. These positive associations can significantly decrease anxiety surrounding a trip to the veterinarian. 

Calm Your Dog by Expending Some of that Nervous Energy

Another way to help your dog feel calmer before your next veterinary visit is to let him exercise before the trip. Just as it does in humans, exercise can make your dog happier. Take your dog for an extra long walk, spend time playing fetch, or let him play with the neighbor. The more you can wear him out before his vet visit, the calmer he will be when it is time to go.

Play Vet at Home to Calm Your Dog

Sometimes the vet is scary just because your dog isn’t used to being handled a certain way. You can help reduce these anxious feelings by doing some of your own practice exams at home. Spend a short amount of time each day mimicking a veterinary exam.  Run your hands along the trunk, examine the teeth and ears, and check out each paw. Once your dog is comfortable with your actions, enlist the help of family and friends. This familiar association can help your dog feel calmer the next time the vet does it.

Ask the Vet for Help to Calm Your Dog

If your efforts are not reducing your pet’s anxiety, it might be time to enlist some professional help. Ask your veterinarian for a suggestion that can ease your pet’s fears before your next visit. There are many calming products that work effectively, including:

  • Calming collars
  • Thunder vests
  • Pheromone sprays
  • Herbal supplements

If your dog is still anxious even with calming aids, it might be time to talk about medication. The vet could decide that a sedative is the best option for your nervous pup. 
At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we want to help you calm your dog for a visit to the vet so that they can be less stressed and feel okay about their care. We are committed to offering specialty and emergency veterinary care and helpful resources about pet ownership. We are always here to help you provide the best life for your pets. To learn more about our services, please call (248) 334-6877.