Happy October! Fall is in full swing and so is National Pet Wellness Month! This month thousands of veterinarians across the United States are working to raise awareness about the pet aging process and the importance of twice-a-year wellness examinations for dogs and cats. Many dogs and their owners may panic at the idea of twice a year wellness exams but that is what we are here for! We know the vet can be scary for our furry friends so we have put together some tips and tricks for how you can make those visits to the vet easier and less anxiety-inducing for your pup!
Before we get into our tips and tricks we wanted to shed some light on why making vet visits less stressful for your dog is important. Making vet visits less stressful has many benefits, including increasing the likelihood of people actually taking their dog to the vet, making it easier for the vet to make the right diagnosis, and reducing the risk of the vet staff or owner being bitten. In addition, stress is bad for dogs’ physical health, just as it is for people. Now let’s dive right in to some tips you can use to make your next vet visit easier.
Don’t Feed Your Dog Prior to the Visit
Unless necessary for an evaluation, it is best to not feed your pup right before their visit. Not only does a full stomach increase the likelihood that your pup will develop car sickness, but many veterinarians use treats as positive reinforcement throughout the appointment and if your pup just ate a healthy serving of kibble, they may be less interested in the treats your veterinarian staff has to offer.
Bring Their Favorite Toy or Blanket
If your dog is not accustomed to going to the vet, it is best to bring something that reminds them of home along for the trip. Whether it be their favorite blanket, toy or maybe even their dog bed, having something nearby with a familiar smell can help ease your dog’s nerves when they are confronted with a new environment.
If Possible, Be There
With the COVID-19 pandemic, this next tip hasn’t been possible for many pet owners but if you are able, be there for your pet. They will find comfort and knowing you are there for them and that they are not alone. Being in the same room as you pet during the exam can ease their anxiety and help them feel more at ease.
Sometimes The Scariest Part is Getting There
For some pets the scariest part of visiting the vet is getting there! That’s why it is really important that you train your dog to enjoy car rides and traveling. If you find that positive reinforcement and toys aren’t enough to help your pet enjoy car rides, it may be beneficial to explore a pheromone spray or collar such as ThunderEase!
Practice Vet-Like Handling
This one has been recommended by many veterinarians! Practice touching and examining your dog at home so that when the veterinarian begins pushing or messing with their feet, your pup is used to the sensation and is able to keep calm during their examination!
Grab Your ThunderShirt!
That’s right, the gentle pressure we all know and love can also help with vet visits! Given you are just in for a routine visit, your veterinarian may let your pup wear their ThunderShirt during their visit for additional calming support. Many members of the ThunderShirt family say that the ThunderShirt is just what the doctor ordered! Speaking of what the doctor ordered, some veterinarians actually keep a ThunderShirt in their office to help ease anxious dogs during their exam!
Remember Your Pup’s Health is Most Important!
Now that you have these tips to make your pup’s next vet visit go smoothly, let us know what works best for you and your dog! We are celebrating National Pet Wellness Month all month long and hope you will join us in spreading the importance of keeping up with your pet’s health!