Dogs are naturally very curious and have an inquisitive nature. They interact enthusiastically with everything in their surrounding world. But, there are several things or components that give them anxiety, fear, and response to stress. Just like us, every dog has a different personality and mood. Some of them really are extroverts with extremely brave nature and no fear. On the other hand, some are more worried about different circumstances or situations that they may encounter. Generally, the different personality traits are breed-specific, past experience-dependent, and largely relying on their individual nature. It needs an ample amount of time to understand their nature, traits, and reactions to different situations. Although they show immense bravery in several situations, most of them fear veterinarians and always create a fuss when going for a checkup. In some cases, it becomes a nightmare for us to take them to the vet.
You may ask, why do they fear the vet? Well, the simple answer is trauma, past experiences and the scent of the vet clinic. Generally, we take our pups to the vet only when they are ill or during vaccination. These times are really troublesome for them. They associate their outings really well with their respective experiences due to their strong instincts. When the same thing happens again, they start protesting against it. This is reflected by anxiousness, stressful whining, profuse barking and scratching. It is their version of the expression of fear.
Reasons Why Dogs Fear The Vet
Now let us discuss first in detail the causes of this fear of going to the vet.
As mentioned before, dogs have a great memory of almost any and every incident, which has happened with them throughout their lives. If you have taken your pup to a vet for some illness or vaccination, and they have had an unpleasant experience, they will remember the complete scenario intact. With the passage of time, they will develop a fear of it. So the next time you are going to take them to the vet, they will create a lot of fuss and show symptoms of anxiety, stress.
Pheromones or smells
Dogs have an immensely powerful nose. They also have great potential for remembering the smell. The vet clinics have a typical smell of chemicals and medicines. The first time you take your pup to the vet, they register the smell of that place and associate the same with the experience, which in most cases, is unpleasant. Therefore, they mark the smell as unpleasant and fearful. Consequently, the next time you attempt to take them to the vet, it will cause a sensation of fear in them, ultimately causing negative reactions.
At the time of veterinary examinations, your vet will restrain your dog for some time to take blood samples or do a routine checkup. But your pup might feel afraid and confused due to such kind of actions. That is why, in the upcoming days, when you take them to the vet, it will take a great effort and hard work from your side.
These were some of the reasons regarding the fear of your pup from the vet. There are some tips, techniques, and tricks to get rid of this fear of vets from their minds. However, you need to be patient and show love to your pup during the process. They are not able to talk and express their feelings through barking, crying, or digging. In this way, they try to get your attention to their problems. Hence, understanding their state of mind is of prime priority, as it will give you the ultimate cure for all their issues.
How to Eradicate their Fear
The fear of veterinarians is quite easy to conquer if you can put some decent amount of time and required effort. You can make your dog’s next visit to the vet easy for all by following the methods as mentioned above, but you need to understand your pup’s anxiety level. To decrease the anxiety level, you might need the help of your vet to find the exact solution.
Taking mock medical exams at your home
Dogs generally fear the whole process of medical examinations because they are not used to such procedures that they receive during the medical exams. Although to make them familiar with the medical procedures, you can step in and practice some basic medical examinations in the form of mock exams. You can spend a certain amount of time in a week by checking their ears, looking at their teeth, holding their paws, and so on. Do not forget to praise your pup after they successfully complete each step. This way, they will start feeling a lot more positive regarding the examinations.
Visit the clinic more often
To make your pup realize that the vet clinic is not an unsafe place, you can take your pup to the vet for casual visits. You require this to make your pup accustomed to the clinic premises. For the first few times, they might show anxiety and fear-related problems, and getting them to the clinic will be tough. If you can arrange some treats for them after they reach the clinic or some fun activities, they will start to feel positive about it soon. You can ask the concerned person to give them some treats or a friendly pat as well. These things will definitely encourage your pup for future visits to the clinic.
It would be best if you remembered to remain gentle and calm in these situations as your pup goes through a sensitive state. You should not force them too much to enter the clinic at once. You should let them do it in a gradual manner. They have a very sensitive mind, and putting pressure might create several side effects.
Medicate for Fear
Some dogs fear when it comes to going to the vet clinic. The extent of fear is so much that medication of anxiety or stress becomes the last resort. In these cases, you can ask your vet for an anti-anxiety medicine, which you can give them before visiting to the clinic. We recommend you to go for, nutritional supplements or pheromone supplements which are clinically proven to relieve anxiety. Remember, their health is the main priority to you; therefore, you have to take this step.
Try to use a Muzzle
Sometimes, they show aggression from the fear of vets. They try to bite everyone in their surroundings. Although your pup is vaccinated, taking them to public places like clinics might be tricky. It is better to use a muzzle in such situations. Although before using it, you must make them accustomed to the device. You should not use the muzzle only at the time of visiting the vet clinic. This is due to the fact that they will quickly associate their muzzle with visiting clinics and will refuse to wear it. Make the whole experience cheerful and create a positive vibe.
Get a Vet Who Attains House Calls
Sometimes the fear of being attained by a vet becomes the fear of dogs. In this case, they never want to go to the clinic and it is better not to force them as well. There are some vets and mobile veterinary clinics that attain house calls. They come to your house for routine examination of your pup and perform routine tests and vaccinations based on your dog’s convenience. All of these can be done by staying at home. Hence, your dog will be comfortable enough and their fear will not act.
Get Additional Help
We understand that it gets really problematic sometimes, figuring out the right process to get your dog to the vet. In these cases, the exercise of patience is a must, along with consistent trials. Your vet can be of great help to you, as they have already dealt with these situations many times before. Vets and their staff are always ready to help you. Hence, never keep a communication gap between you and your vet. You can talk to a dog trainer or a behaviorist. They can also help you by suggesting a few important facts regarding diminishing this fear in your pup.
These were the major reasons why your furry friend fears going to the vet for checkups and how you can get rid of it. Be gentle and understanding, stay by their side and they will definitely battle out their fear.