Fear of the veterinarian is a frequent canine phobia, but it can be reduced with more frequent and pleasant visits, prizes and other tricks
- Author: By EVA SAN MARTÍN
- Publication date: May 27, 2014
The dogs with fear of the veterinarian are not few: This type of canine phobia is among the most frequent, according to experts. Dogs that fear the visit to the canine doctor bark, growl, hide and even can make their needs in the consultation, of pure fear. But what to do to help the dog with terror to the veterinarian? They are revealed below seven tricks: make short visits to the specialist just to greet, take care of car trips, offer prizes to the animal, get used to handling at home, calm us too, give a massage before the visit and, for the most fearful dogs, opt by a home veterinarian.
Is your dog afraid of the veterinarian? It's not the only one
Some dogs remain petrified during their visits to the veterinarian. Other dogs bark and growl incessantly in the consultation in response to fear. There are some who tremble and seek refuge. In extreme cases, the dog can show his fear of entering the veterinary clinic with signs, that is, by marking with his urine or feces the doors of the clinic.
The dogs that feel fear during their medical visits, unfortunately, are not few. "It is not strange to find dogs that have developed fear of the veterinarian," explains the Society Against Cruelty to Animals, which has developed an extensive manual to help these dogs.
"The fear of the veterinarian is among the most frequent phobias in dogs, along with the fear of noise and firecrackers or the anxiety they feel about the separation of their owners", coincides veterinarian Natalia González, who deals daily with these fearsome dogs.
And it is that dogs are not able to understand that this expert is taking care of their health. All they know is that they have to go once or twice a year to a place where they will find other unknown animals, with a strange smell and where they will be manipulated or punctured by hands not always recognized by the furry companion.
But there ways to reduce fear of the vet in our four-legged friends. Below are seven tricks and tips that can help.
1. Dogs with fear of the veterinarian: frequent visits and. With prizes!
The dog's fear of the veterinarian can be reduced with more frequent, short and pleasant visits or just to greet the canine doctor
The best way to prevent fear of the veterinarian in the dog is to accustom him from his puppy stage. The little ones should go to visit their doctors not only when they have a consultation but also It is advisable to make routine visits, with the sole purpose of greeting your veterinarian.
But, What to do when the adult dog has already developed fear? Short, regular and pleasant visits to the veterinarian will help reduce your anxiety. For this, it is convenient to arrange a appointment just to weigh the dog or agree with the doctor a visit where we only offer the furry companion edible prizes. These measures will help you associate the entrance to the clinic with a pleasant moment.
2. Take care of the car trip
For many dogs, the unpleasant experience that can involve going to the veterinarian begins even earlier: during the trip by car to the clinic.
Can travel by car, however, can be made more relaxing with some simple tricks: choose a secure anchor system for the dog, offer prizes and petting, as well as to avoid that the only use of the car for the pet is the dreaded visit to the canine specialist.
3. Prizes and games
Positive dog education implies that relate the experience of the veterinarian with a positive experience. In this sense, tasty edible prizes for dogs can serve. Why not offer you cookies before entering the consultation and even while we wait in the waiting room?
4. Get used to handling
Some dogs that are afraid of the veterinarian have, in addition, very little tolerance to be manipulated. "There are dogs and cats that almost do not allow to be touched, so the veterinary exam is very complicated and the visit becomes a traumatic moment for the animal, "explains veterinarian Yaiza Torres.
What is the advice? Provide caresses, contact games, catch their legs frequently and offer love at home in abundance. These guidelines will accustom you to contact and make you see it as something not dangerous.
5. Calm us too
We must also be calm during the visit to the veterinarian, since our nervousness would infect the dog
The dog is not the only one who needs to feel safe and calm in the vet. Your two-legged caregivers and human friends (that is, us) also need to be relaxed during the visit: dogs capture our mood and, if we are stressed, the animal will be infected.
Choose a trusted veterinarian and be affectionate with our furry friend or friend are some guidelines so that the visit to the specialist becomes a more pleasant moment for everyone.
6. Massages to relax the dog in the vet
Dog massages are not only a good experience that strengthens the link between dogs and humans. This manipulation, practiced before the visit to the veterinarian, will also make our furry companion feel calmer in the consultation.
Learning to massage the dog is not complicated: the possibilities range from offer a massage in the legs and neck or gently manipulate the spine until caressing the back of the ears.
As the owner, show a relaxed attitude before and during the visit
Many times it is the humans themselves who project that nervousness to our pets. Therefore, try to go relaxed to the consultation so that the animal does not get tense.
It is best to opt for a trusted veterinarian, who also gives you security and does not allow you to get so nervous.
7. Home veterinarian for the most fearful dogs
Home veterinarians are professionals who visit dogs and cats at their own homes. These types of veterinary consultations are usually more relaxing for the furry companions, since they should not move and will be taken care of in a familiar environment.
More and more clinics have home services, although they usually add a small surcharge. Other veterinarians, however, have specialized in offering home appointments. In this case, it is easier to find more competitive prices. The key? Consult, test and choose one of trust that, in addition (important), enjoy the sympathy of our dog or dog.
Try not to be very traumatic to the vet
Although some veterinary treatments or methods can be painful, you, as the owner, can mitigate these discomforts with simple aspects, such as improving the animal's transport conditions, petting your pet and adopting a calm attitude, rewarding with a lollipop, etc.
Prizes in the form of treats, bones or feed grains are essential to highlight good behaviors. So he pulls around and you'll get to relax your pet.
Promote the socialization of the animal from the beginning
This aspect is very important, especially if we talk about dogs and cats. It is very important that these animals are accustomed to dealing with people, the more people they have seen since the beginning of their development, the less problems they will have later to go to the veterinarian or to another place where they will see unknown people.
Get used to handling
From the first moments it is very important that the animal feels relaxed and confident when it is caught or inspected. Therefore, starting with cutting his nails, opening his mouth or catching and punching him can be very positive so that when he arrives at the veterinarian he does not opt for elusive behaviors.
Use the veterinarian at home
It may be that your pet does not support going to the veterinarian or needs special treatment and it is better for the veterinarian to go home. In these cases, he turns to the veterinarian at home to have the consultation there.
This is usually much more effective, because the animal is calmer and safer. Therefore, if you cannot help your pet in any other way, this solution is perfect.
Alleviate the fear of veterinary visits
Below are some of the advice provided by specialists to mitigate this phobia:
- The owner must show a relaxed attitude before and during the veterinary intervention.
Many times it is humans themselves who project nervousness to our pets, so that we contribute to increasing the tension of the animal. To avoid it, the most advisable is have a trusted veterinarian and, above all, that it remains in time to create complicity between the three.
- Ensure that the veterinary experience is as traumatic as possible.
Although the practice of certain treatments or interventions can be uncomfortable and even painful, the owners can mitigate them with aspects as simple as: improve the transport conditions of the animal on the way to the consultation with comfortable and safe carriers, caress and adopt a strict and calm attitude so that orders are not understood as punishments but as duties and, above all, reward.
Prizes in the form of treats, feed grains, bones ... are essential to highlight good behaviors of our pets, so they can be administered both at the end of the veterinary visit and during this, as long as the professional deems it convenient.
- Promote the socialization of the animal from the beginning of its development.
This aspect is paramount, especially in the case of dogs and cats, as contact with other people is more viable. Encouraging meetings with other individuals contributes to increasing their confidence and, therefore, to avoid defensive behaviors reflecting their tension.
- Get used to handling.
From the first moments It is key that the animal feels relaxed when it is caught or inspected. Practices such as cutting your nails, opening your mouth or simply catching or immobilizing you for the bathroom help create such essential complicity.
- Resort to the veterinarian at home.
In certain cases, either because the animal needs special treatment or shows an excessive rejection of the consultation that prevents visiting the clinic, or because the specific characteristics of the species require it, there are options for veterinarians at home.
These interventions are usually more distended. for the safety that the family environment transmits to the animal.
It is understandable that our pets show some tension in the face of this type of procedure, but it is in our hand to help them cope with it as well as possible.
Tips to eliminate vet phobia
Obviously we are not going to get our dog to lose his fears with a few simple words or gestures, we must implement a series of very simple tips that will help him overcome his panics easily.
For this it is essential that we as owners are always very calm and do not lose patience with our dog, applying these guidelines he will gradually lose his fear and possibly in less than a month he has overcome it.
Although you should keep in mind that some dogs cost more than others, if your dog takes a few weeks longer than normal ... do not worry and persists, you will end up achieving it.
Go to go more frequently
Don't worry, you shouldn't pay for every visit you make ... You just have to go for a visit of about two or three minutes and leave. Talk to the veterinarian so that when you visit, always give a prize to your dog and make some snacks.
With this we seek to associate the visit to the veterinarian with a positive memory, go often without doing anything, just visit and also get a prize is something super good that your dog will not forget.
In this way, when he goes for something real like a vaccine or a review, he will think that it is a visit and will simply wait for his prize. It is what is known as positive reinforcement education.
Let your dog spend its energy before the visit
When a dog is afraid of the veterinarian he tends to transform his energy into anxiety, because he simply does not want to be there. If we give our dog a great walk before his visit to the veterinarian we will spend that excess energy.
Even if we do a little sport with him or if we take him to a dog park to play with other dogs, he will spend much of his energy and therefore suffer less stress.
Avoid nerves and use positive reinforcement
Dogs have a sixth sense and are able to easily detect our mood, if they perceive that we are nervous, they will think that something bad happens and they will also get nervous.
That is why we must go totally calm and without stress to the veterinary visit, caressing our dog and transmitting calm if we see that it is disturbed a little. But beware, we must use positive reinforcement for it.
A bad example is to pet our dog if it is nervous, scared or shaking ... because he will think we reward him for being like this. A good example is to order him to feel, to lie down, to get up ... and to caress and reward him for it, in this way he will think that it is because he has performed the exercises well and we will also keep his mind occupied.
Beware of routines, avoid them
It is very common to take the car when you go to the veterinarian, our dog memorizes that and he will know that if we take the car it is because he has to go to the veterinarian, something that scares him a lot.
That is why it is advisable to avoid this type of routines and go to the veterinary clinic taking a quiet walk with our dog. Failing that, if we cannot because it is far away, we must get used to the dog to go by car not only to the veterinarian, but to more places like the dog park or the mountain.
Try to make an appointment with the veterinarian at different times, do not always go at the same time in the afternoon or morning because your dog will remember, they have much more memory than we think.
Use your imagination to distract your attention
Dogs are very intelligent but also very manipulable, we can avoid focusing their attention on terror to the veterinarian and try to focus on something more fun like a game or a smell.
Bringing a toy to the consultation to play with our dog while we wait is a good idea, it is also to bring some food as prizes or some special chewable bone for dogs.
If we keep our dog distracted, we will greatly reduce his stress and panic to the veterinarian. It seems absurd, but it is very effective to calm a dog.
Human contact is very important.
Although it sounds a bit strange, if we accustom our dog to let himself be handled it will be much easier for the veterinarian to perform the recommended reviews.
Massaging our dog on a daily basis is an excellent idea to get used to being touched, even when it is already done, we can ask a friend or other family member to do so, so it will be played by different people.
When we go to the veterinarian's appointment, we should talk to him and explain that our dog is afraid. We must tell the veterinarian that as much as possible, we want to stay with him at all times.
If our dog sees us next to him, calm and doing nonsense ... he will relax and lose some of his fear. He trusts us and we can help him overcome his fears.