Our canine patients have all sorts of emotions when they come to us. We have patients who will race in and jump on the consult room table and others who will run away from home and come straight to our door as they now that is a great place to be.
We would like all our doggie patients to feel this way about a trip to the vet.
There are a number of ways that we can help dogs make a trip to us fun.
Starting early as a puppy and having fun pleasant visits is a great start. Going to puppy classes in our clinics where they associate the vets as a place to get treats and meet other dogs from an early age sets them off on the right paw.
If you have an older dog don’t be a stranger. We are always happy for dogs to come in have a treat maybe jump on the scales for a weigh in and have a fun trip to us.
Sometimes the car trip can be unsettling. If your dog gets car sick there are tablets that are very effective in helping. Otherwise getting them to sit in the car when it is still rewarding with treats then turning on the engine while keeping them happy with a treats and petting. If your dog is feeling relaxed at this stage have someone help reward while taking them on a very short trip and gradually increasing the distance while giving their favourite treat. This slow desensitisation can help make the car trip a pleasant event.
When in the vet clinic bring their favourite treat (we do have a bottomless tin of liver treats on the reception desk) and ideally miss a meal to make them a bit hungry which can make treats an even better reward. Ensure they are on a leash to avoid them petting other dogs and cats or running out the door if you get distracted.
When they enter the consult room we will let them wander around getting used to the room and often examine them on the floor or wherever they feel most comfortable. Again if they are a bit hungry, liver treats or their favourite treats will be even better at making them associate a trip to the vets with a happy event.