Two Tips for Taking Your Nervous Dog to the Vet

If you have arranged to take your dog to one of your local vets for a check-up or a procedure, and you are concerned that your pet's nervous temperament may make this a challenging experience, here are some tips that may be of use to you.

Behave in a calm manner.

Dogs are highly sensitive creatures and can often pick up on and then mimic their owners' moods.

This means that if you start behaving in an anxious manner on the day of the appointment (for example, if you start speaking in a high-pitched, nervous voice or become very physically tense), your dog may start also start to feel anxious.

As such, it is a good idea to make a conscious effort to behave in a calm manner when you are preparing for the journey to the vet, as well as when you have to sit in the waiting room at the clinic.

Speaking in a soft, low tone of voice and keeping your body relaxed should help to communicate to your pet that this appointment is not something that they need to be alarmed about.

Make their journey to and from the vet as soothing and distracting as possible.

If your dog associates travelling in the crate in your car with anxiety-inducing trips to the vet, there is a risk that they may become more and more nervous as your road journey progresses, and then arrive at the vet clinic in a severely distressed state. This could make it harder for the vet to examine them and could psychologically traumatise your dog.

Given this, it's important to make the journey to and from the vet clinic as soothing and distracting as possible. In practical terms, this might mean giving your pet a bone or hard-textured snack to gnaw on (make sure that it is a food that will last for the duration of the journey). This should keep them distracted and calm whilst you're on the road. If your pet cannot have food because they are undergoing a surgical procedure at the clinic, then you might want to provide them with a chew toy instead.

Additionally, make the crate itself as comfortable possible. Rather than just using one thin blanket, place a thick cushion on the floor of the crate, and add in another blanket on top. This cushioned, warm environment should help to put your pet at ease and perhaps even lead to them taking a nap.