Vet Phobia: Tips And Tricks To Help Your Dog

You know how you have a phobia of going to the dentist? Well, your dog may have a fear of going to the veterinarian. Believe it or not, it is actually more common than you may think. Your dog may be the happiest and friendliest canine in the neighborhood – until it comes time to go see the veterinarian. Then, he trembles in fear. It may be the strange sounds and smells, all the other animals, or being restrained by the vet tech. Whatever it is, you need to try to take steps to help your dog overcome his fear. It may take some time and effort, but that's okay. Now, whether you can completely eradicate your dog's fear remains to be seen, but you may at least be able to ease some of his anxiety that he is experiencing. Here are some tips to make checkups easier on him and yourself:

  • Visit the Vet Socially – You normally only go to the vet when something is wrong or for an annual checkup. Change this. Make some social calls (pre-arranged and approved, of course). Get some of the staff to pet and play with your dog for a few minutes and give him a couple of treats, too.
  • Avoid Forcing Him – Since your dog is scared of the vet, he may not go willingly on your social calls. So, this may take some time – and some treats. Don't carry him in or drag him, and don't force him in either. Instead, have some treats with you to give him on the way up to the door -- and give him a lot of praise the closer he gets.
  • Do Some Practice Exams – Since the exam is probably what your dog fears most at the office, perform some practice exams at home. Practice handling your dog in the same way the vet does. Practice restraining him, checking his teeth, looking at his ears, and even holding his paws. Always be gentle, and don't forget to give him a lot of praise and treats throughout the practice exam.

When the above doesn't work, as it won't for all dogs, you may need to consider other options. You may want to consider looking at medication for anxiety. A vet like those at Parkview Animal Hospital may be able to prescribe one for you. You can also locate a veterinarian that will make house calls. The latter is becoming more and more popular, and a dog who can be examined in his own environment will be far more comfortable than a dog who is outside of his element.