Vet Visits: They Don't Have to Be a Nightmare!
Many dog owners dread dragging their beloved pets to the vet. But does it have to be this way? Absolutely not. Taking the dog to the vet is not only essential for a dog's overall health and well being, but it can also be a welcome and pleasant experience for you and your pet.
First of all, it's a good idea to begin taking the dog to the vet at the earliest possible age. In this way, your dog will grow accustomed to making the trip during its most impressionable years. Before taking the dog to the vet for the first time, do your homework. Research the various vets and animals hospitals in your area and ask around. Your friends, family members, or neighbors may know of someone you can trust.
After making your selection, call to make an appointment and find out what you need to bring when taking the dog to the vet. If possible, it's usually a good idea to have an immunization record as well as any other papers the breeder or pet store may have given you on hand.
One of the easiest ways to turn taking the dog to the vet into an exciting experience is to bring treats and talk in an upbeat, excited tone of voice as you approach the vet's office. You want your dog to think he is about to embark on an incredibly interesting adventure, so have fun with it.
Once you've arrived at the vet's office, use a soothing voice to assure your pet that he is in a safe place. There will most likely be other dogs in the waiting area, so it's important to use a leash when taking the dog to the vet to avoid contact with sick animals. A dog's response to the other animals will differ based on temperament and personality, but your best bet is to keep treats on hand as a distraction while you wait for your appointment to begin.
It is typical for the vet to allow you to go in the examination room with your dog, so use this to your advantage. Keep using that soothing voice to reassure your pup, and watch the way your dog responds to the vet. Just as you wouldn't remain with a doctor who made you frightened or uncomfortable, your dog should not have to stick with a vet who makes him upset or afraid. Usually, the vet will be experienced in making animals feel at ease in his or her presence, so this most likely will not be a problem. Sometimes it will take a bit for your dog to warm up to this new person, but never underestimate the power of a dog treat to build an unbreakable bond between your dog and your vet.
Taking the dog to the vet is a vital part of proper pet care, and after all the puppy immunizations are complete, a healthy animal should only need to go once a year for an annual checkup and shots. Some dogs end up with medical problems that require more frequent vet visits, and in this case, you may want to consider purchasing pet health insurance.
Overall, taking the dog to the vet can be perfectly pleasant for you, your pet, and the vet, provided you take the time to properly prepare.