Reducing Your Dog’s Fear of Going to the Vet

dog's fear cover

It’s the event that dog owners dread but, whether your dog needs an annual check-up or more serious medical assistance, going to the vets is unavoidable. A number of dogs are afraid of these trips, which means they can become far more difficult and stressful than needed. In this blog, we want to bring some hope to dog owners by setting out a few ways in which you can reduce your dog’s fear of visiting the vet.

So, why are dogs afraid of the vet? There are several factors that could be responsible for your dog’s fear and it may be a combination of these. The first time a puppy goes to the vet, it will probably be for vaccinations which can be intrusive and traumatic for them. The negative memory of this first experience will stay with them for future visits. A vet clinic is also a very overwhelming place due to the range of scents that a dog will pick up – especially from other animals. However, although fear of the vet is pretty common for dogs, there are some things that you can do to help.

Take time to find the right vet

dog's fear vetIt’s important for your dog to feel comfortable with the person who is treating them. You should take your time to find the right vet – read reviews, ask other pet owners and get a feel for what you personally want. For whatever reason, dogs don’t always react well to people so make sure you find someone that they trust. Some vets will even make house calls which can be a great option for nervous dogs. It is an excellent to reduce your dog’s fear.

Visit more regularly

dog's fear visitsDogs associate the vet with feelings of anxiety and fear because they are often there when they are ill, or need to be handled in an intrusive and unfamiliar way. To prevent this association, it’s a good idea to take your dog on social visits to the vet office when you can. Your dog can get used to the smells and the sounds, as well as being petted by unfamiliar people.

Bring treats with you

dog's fear treatsAs you probably already know, a lot of our furry friends are very food-orientated. This makes it easy to train them using treats. You can use treats as a motivation for going to the vets as your dog will begin to associate it with the food. However, make sure you don’t overdo it! You don’t want to make your dog sick or let them put on too much extra weight.

Practice at home

dog’s fear at homeYou may not be a professional but a great way to get your dog used to being handled at the vet is to go through a similar process at home. Every so often, you can act as though you are a vet by checking them over thoroughly in the same way that they will be at the vet. This makes the whole process a lot more familiar for them.

It may take some time for your dog to get over their phobia of the vet but, if you are patient, you can get them to become a lot happier with the process. Simply taking on these tips and making small changes to your visit may help your dog to become less afraid of the vet in time.

How do you stop your dog’s fear of going to the vet?

Author bio: SynergyVets is a dedicated veterinary recruitment agency, with almost 30 years of experience supporting the profession with locum and permanent personnel. They have a great blog which, alongside advice for veterinary candidates, includes useful animal care tips for pet owners.


Photo by Isaac Alvara on Reshot

Photo by brian quain on Reshot