Steps to Ease Anxiety for Your Pet’s Visit to the Veterinarian

Taking your dog to the vet can be a stressful experience for them. Whether it’s their very first visit or they’ve been a handful of times, it’s an understandable source of uneasiness. There are new people, new smells, other animals, and the potential for poking and prodding. What makes a vet visit even more difficult is that we simply can’t communicate with our pets about what awaits them. We cannot verbally calm their nerves.

Despite our inability to communicate with our dogs, there are some things that you can do to prepare your pet for the vet and ease their anxiety beforehand. Below, we’ll go over signs that your dog is anxious, how to calm down a puppy and an adult dog, and some tricks for easing their anxiety.

Anxiety and Your Dog

Just like people, dogs can experience anxiety too, and there are three main types of anxiety your dog may experience:

  • Fear-related anxiety: Anxiety caused by fear is usually from loud noises, new people, animals, places, situations, or visual stimuli.
  • Separation anxiety: Separation anxiety occurs when your dog is unable to self-soothe when it’s left alone or away from its family.
  • Age-related anxiety: As dogs age, they can develop cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). It’s similar to Alzheimer’s in humans and leads to a loss of memory, awareness of their surroundings, and confusion, which all can cause anxiety.

Symptoms of Anxiety

The following are the most common signs and symptoms that your dog is experiencing anxiety:

  • Aggression
  • Drooling
  • Destructive behavior
  • Depressed behavior
  • Pacing
  • Shaking
  • Panting
  • Barking
  • Restless
  • Urinating and defecating indoors

dog shaking and panting excessively is one of the more serious signs that they’re distressed, but it can also be a sign of other serious physical problems like heat stroke, an injury, blood sugar imbalance, fever, infection, or a heart problem.

Steps to Ease Anxiety Before Your Vet Visit

Whether your dog has already exhibited anxiety about visiting the vet or not, there are some things that you can do to help them get more comfortable with their vet and ease any anxiety they may have.

  1. Go for a Drive

Some dogs love going for car rides while others don’t do so well on a road trip. Either way, taking more frequent drives helps your dog get used to being in the car and the more they’re in the car, the less they’ll associate it with only going to see the vet. If they don’t like the car, start with shorter drives, and go fun places like a dog park or a hike, and reward them with treats. Over time, build up the duration of the ride and the number of places that you visit.

  1. Meet Your Vet Beforehand

Take the element of surprise out of the equation and introduce your dog to their new vet beforehand. You can take them by the clinic to get familiar with the smells and people so they’re less nervous about a new environment when it’s time for a check-up.

  1. Get Calming Dog Treats

The best calming aids for dogs come in the form of a treat. There are many dog treats on the market that contain CBD, which has been shown to calm dogs down and relieve their anxiety. CBD takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to kick in and lasts about six to eight hours, so make sure you time it just right.

  1. Exercise Before the Appointment

Want to know how to calm down a puppy? With exercise! Exercise increases your dog’s overall health and happiness and reduces stress. It also wears them out before an appointment, which helps them to remain calm. Puppies have even more energy than older dogs and allowing them to burn off that extra energy will also make them easier to manage in the office.

  1. Lead by Example

Our animals pick up on our energy and follow our lead, so when you’re calm, it helps them remain calm. Keep your stress level at bay, use a soothing and uplifting tone of voice, and tell them what a good boy or girl they’re being when at the vet.

Going to the vet can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! By understanding your dog’s anxiety, recognizing the symptoms, and working to alleviate it, you and your pup can have a much more enjoyable experience at the vet. For more information on how to help your dog with anxiety or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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