How To Make Your Dog Love Going To The Vet

There's no doubt that routine check-ups are important to your pet. But if you're struggling with getting your dog to the animal hospital, all hope is not lost. Whether your canine is hesitant to get in the car or he slams on the brakes as you approach the front door of the clinic, follow these simple tips to have your furry friend chomping at the bit to see the vet in no time.

Getting Them in the Car

Some animals are anxious about traveling and either shy away from vehicles or pull away when owners try to load them in the back seat. If you're having trouble with your pooch, start by taking them for slow walks around the car and hand them treats. Then graduate to opening the door and lying some treats or toys on the seat.

Don't force them in the car but rather let them choose when to hop up in. Eventually, you'll work on starting the car and backing out of the driveway to head to the clinic, but the goal is to make it a smooth transition. Rewarding them for each gradual step will help them look forward to their road trip.

Making the Visit Fun

If you only take your canine companion to the vet when they need vaccinations or long-term boarding, they're much more likely to resent the trip there. To reduce anxiety in your pet when visiting the vet, make the trip fun. Take them in just for treats and socialization. Let them step on the scale instead of going to an exam room. Or schedule an appointment for a physical where the doctor examines them from head to toe without poking them with needles. Your dog will eventually learn that they don't have to associate pain with their visit to the vet's office.

Getting Help from the Staff

If your dog refuses to walk through the front door, you'll probably have to approach this the same way you would with a travel-anxious pet. Consider asking the receptionist or a technician to come out and offer your pet treats or a pat on the head. You can also try to walk them around the parking lot and get them used to the smells. Do this several times without going inside to get your furry friend used to the location, the noises, and the comings and goings of the animal hospital.

Starting Young

Getting your pet used to the vet should start at a young age. Waiting until adulthood to experience the gentle poking and prodding that comes with an exam and the slight pinch of a vaccination can trigger anxiety in most any canine. As a puppy, your dog should experience the sights and sounds of an animal hospital while also being rewarded in some way, like with toys, treats, and a soft pat on the head. Only you know how your puppy responds to praise versus edible rewards, and getting them used to the vet early on can make for a happy, healthy dog down the road.