January can be a busy month at the vets as aside from the usual reasons to take your dog, such as vaccinations, weight loss clinics and puppy socialising classes, January can also be a great time to take your dog for a health check for anything that became noticeable over Christmas. For a lot of dogs the vet is not their preferred destination, often due to bad experiences like remembered injections, operations or simply separation from their owner. This can lead to anxiety and stress during future visits.
This anxiety and stress can manifest as aggression, fear, over excitement and challenging behaviours. Some dogs will simply freeze – with a toy or small breed this is less of problem but picking up larger dogs, like a German shepherd, to get them into the waiting room is not a good idea.
Some things to try if your dog is stressed by the vets:
- Try taking your dog in more frequently for weight checks and quick visits so he becomes more familiar with the environment.
- Manage his behaviour in the waiting room and surgery by bringing along a friend to help keep him under control and distracted from other dogs.
- Give him a good walk before going so he’ll be happier to sit quietly and wait for your turn.
- Find out if there are quieter times to visit the surgery or if home visits are possible.
- Plan a treat or outing for after the visit, for instance, a good walk or time with other doggie friends, so he starts to associate the vets with the fun afterwards.