Why You Should Visit Your Vet Just For Fun

Before you have to visit your vet out of necessity it is a good idea to just visit for the sake of visiting. I’ve had so many dogs who become emotional train-wrecks as soon as they see that they are even headed in the direction of the vet’s office.  I had one that actually pushed the down button on the window controls on the way to the vet.  Was he planning an escape? Probably not but I was not amused! Now, imagine really having an emergency. You are probably not going to be cool as a cucumber. And we know how well our dogs pick up on our emotional states. Fortunately, we can foresee this potential problem and nip it in the bud by some careful preparation. The goal is to actually make your puppy or dog look forward to going to the vet. Now is the time to get started if you have a puppy, but it is never too late.

Road Trip! Road Trip! Who Wants a Road Trip?

Sooner or later you dog or puppy will probably have  a less-than pleasurable experience at the vet’s office.  So now, while they are young and impressionable, it is an ideal time to arrange a visit just for “fun!” 

Call ahead and talk to the office personnel and find a time when they are not likely to be too busy.  Explain that you would just like to visit so that your dog becomes accustomed to the office surroundings and possibly even to meet a few staffers. Grab a few treats before heading there so you can ask the people on staff to offer him some treats you know he likes. My dogs love Bil-Jac Gooberlicious treats which are semi-soft and can be broken easily into smaller pieces. These treats should be “high value” treats – truly delectable and tiny. Pea-sized treats are about the right size. After all, we don’t want to be visiting later for obesity. If you are able to spend a few minutes in the waiting room, remember that not all dogs are as well socialized as yours is going to be, and some dogs may be in pain or just plain nervous and uncomfortable.  Try to keep your dog interacting with you and not the dogs or cats who are waiting to see the vet . You can use a favorite toy or some of those “high value” treats you have stuffed into your pockets or purse.  If your dog knows some obedience  or even some tricks this is a good time to practice a bit. The point is to have a good time!

After meeting a few people and sitting for a few minutes in the waiting area it is time to pack-up and head out. That’s all there is to it!

You have had your first successful non-event at the vet’s office which is an ideal preparation for coming visits which might not be so uneventful.  And an added bonus is that you have become acquainted with the office surroundings and personnel and you, as well as your dog, will be more relaxed next time.  Dogs so easily pick up on our tension that we want to be careful not to convey this to them. This first fun, get-acquainted visit, will help everyone be more relaxed and comfortable and your vet will appreciate your efforts.

Need help choosing a vet? Andrea Arden has some helpful tips.

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Image Credits:  art ascii(paul)’s  on flickr

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