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Make Your Visit To The Veterinarian A Pleasant Experience

Mar 31, 2008
What's more fun than getting a new puppy or adult dog? It's a time of getting to know each other and learning what you can about the new little fellow. Remember, you've made a lifetime commitment...and a fun one at that!

Visits to the Veterinarian office can be a time of stress. With all that is new to the dog, the vet's office may be an uncertain or unpleasant memory. But it's important that he bond with your new friends doctor so that his health will be well looked after. Here are some ideas on what you can do to ease the stress (on both of you):

1. Introduce your new dog and your vet by bringing them in just for a friendly visit - Just walking through the door is sometimes enough to put the fear into some dogs. After all, this is where they get vaccinations, their temperature taken and sometimes other things that they are not use to. Starting as a puppy (or even as an adult), bring them in to just be social. Stop by and say hi, give a treat or two and after a 5-10 minute visit just leave! This allows the dog a friendly visit where nothing "bad" happens to them!!

2. Work on Restraint - One of the most important things a dog can learn is how to hold still! There are many times at a vet's clinic that your dog may be asked to hold very still and if they are use to having light restraint applied to them, they will not be so scared. For example, getting their nails trimmed, drawing blood for health screens, administering anesthesia (spay, neuter, dentals) or just holding still so the veterinarian may listen to their heart. It is very difficult for the staff and the dog if they are not use to holding still. This can be a difference of having to sedate them for simple procedures or being done in 2 seconds!

3. Be sure to touch the dog ALL OVER! - Get your dog use to having its teeth looked at, lifting his gums up, opening his mouth, looking at his ears, lifting his tail, touching his feet, and opening his eyes. There are things that your veterinarian will do on every physical exam. If you get your dog use to these tasks as a puppy or work with them as an adult they will be familiar with these tasks. Then as the veterinarian does it, they are familiar with the task it is not big deal. One of the biggest spots to focus on is handling their feet for nail trims! It is amazing how many dogs need sedation for just a simple nail trim because they are too afraid to let you touch their feet!

4. Bring Goodies! - Unless there is a medical reason not to give food (check with your veterinarian first) bring your treats/toys from home! This is something that is familiar to your pet and may have a very calming effect. A happy dog is much easier to work with! Again check with your veterinarian before feeding any food.

A visit to the vet can be a good experience...for both of you. With time, effort and patience it can be a very good experience. Some dogs actually LOVE coming into the clinic! Finding a veterinarian that you and your pet both comfortable with can be a very special relationship that will last for the life of your pet (or longer)!

*We wish to acknowledge Cody Menasco, DVM for her assistance in putting this article together.
About the Author
Sandy Schneider, author, is a devoted dog mom. Agility, grooming, obedience, and just plain having fun with her dogs are her passion. She operates Bichon World and invites you to visit the site for great information and articles.
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