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It's Here! Vet Day.

Updated: Sep 12

That dreaded day of taking your precious pup to the vet.

Whether it be just for a routine visit or something more serious, a trip to the veterinarian can be a stressful time for both pets and their people.

Although some things at the vet are out of your control, here are some helpful tips and tricks to make your visit go as smoothly as possible.

The waiting room:

Nothing can fill you with anxiety quite like a veterinary hospital waiting room! These rooms are typically small, usually crowded and filled with people and pets who probably don’t want to be there.

Let’s say you have an overall happy go lucky dog who has never met a stranger. Great! Your biggest responsibility is to keep your dog close to you and away from people and other pets.

Just because your dog is a Rockstar at the vet hospital does not mean all other dogs are.

Keep your distance and do your best to keep your happy bouncy pup calm. Never let them greet another dog or sniff a cat crate, keep a leash length between animals at all times. The owners with anxious animals will thank you!

If your dog fits in with the majority of other animals and has some reservations about the person in the white coat, we can help! Start building your dog's confidence and getting them moving before they even step foot inside the hospital.

Bring a pouch filled with your dogs favorite treats and do some training outside the building. This can be anything from basic obedience, tricks, luring for food or even just sitting calmly. Anything your dog thinks is fun and can be successful at. Once your dog is starting to loosen up it’s time to head in.

Check in with the front desk and continue to use your dogs favorite treats to reinforce desired behaviors.

At this point, if your dog is very nervous he might discontinue eating treats. That’s ok! He is simply over what we call his “threshold”.

Think of a threshold as your comfort zone, staying under threshold keeps you snug in your safe space but going over threshold is stepping out of that zone into the unknown. We can always build and increase thresholds with training (Contact CK9 to help!).

After checking in, look around and assess the waiting room. Is there lots of space for you to keep your distance from other pets? Are there rowdy kids running around? Did old man Jenkins just drop the leash of the clearly reactive giant junkyard dog?

Take all these things into consideration and always feel free to let the receptionist know you are going to wait outside. Do whatever it takes to keep you and your dogs safe and comfortable.

Continue to reinforce good behavior from your dog and do fun confidence building activities with them while you wait.

The exam room:

You made it to the exam room! Now is where you and your dog can take a big deep breath, you’re almost finished.

During conversations with the medical professionals don’t forget to continue reinforcing your dog for good behavior! It is very easy to get swept up in conversation and miss important milestones in your dog's journey.

Be open and honest about the mental state of your dog, do they need a little more space from the vet tech or veterinarian? For this we want to closely examine your dog's body language.

Take into consideration how they are holding their tail, the position of the ears, expression of their mouth, and overall interest in the situation. A dog that has loose flowing body language is what we’re looking for.

Again, be open and honest with your veterinarian. It is your job to be your dog’s advocate in this scary situation.

The part that is out of your hands (Kinda):

Almost all hospitals have a rule that owners do not handle their own pets during exams. This is for the safety of the veterinary staff, your pet and of course you.

In stressful situations animals can become very unpredictable so it is best to let the professionals handle it. In that moment, it is out of your hands.

BUT! You can help prepare your dog for these exams with training! Teaching your dog to allow different body parts (Eyes, ears, teeth, paws etc.,) to be handled by strangers will get them more comfortable during these exams.

Your helpful team of trainers at Cadence K9 can of course help you with this training!

You did it!

You just survived another trip to the vet! Now you don’t have to go back for another year, right?

Wrong.

For training purposes swing by the veterinary hospital once every week or so. Have your dog walk in, walk around, get some treats and then leave!

Desensitizing your dog to the stimuli in the hospital is great training for the next time you have to see the vet. The more your dog does this the more comfortable they will be!

Muzzles and training tools can be very useful in a veterinary setting! These tools will need to be conditioned before taking your dog for their check up, contact Cadence K9 to help!

Taking the time to train your dog and prepare them for their vet visit will change both of your lives!

Your vet and your dog will thank you!

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Homestead FL United States 33031

Rebecca Pasko & Meli Jurado are members of the:

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