Lots of dogs get nervous during a vet visit.
At first, it's an unfamiliar place with an overwhelming amount of stimulation. If they have been sick or needed surgery in the past, it may have become a place they associate with stress which will increase their anxiety more.
But, visiting the vet does not have to be a disastrous experience. There are some steps you can take to ensure that your pup's next vet visit is a peaceful one.
Meet Your Dog's Basic Needs
First, make sure all of your dog's general needs have been met before getting in the car to go to the appointment. Make sure your dog is fed, walked, and had time to go to the bathroom. Stick as close to your normal schedule and routine as you can to maintain normalcy and a sense of calm for your dog.
Bring a Calming Object For the Vet Visit
For the ride to the vet's office, bring something your dog loves to play with or sleeps with. Maybe a special cuddly toy or a shirt that smells like you or someone from your family.
Aromatherapy also works for dogs, so spraying a blanket or cushion they sit on in the car with something lavender scented can help create a calming effect for your dog as well. If your dog tends to be nervous in the office, consider bringing that comfort object in with you.
Have Your Dog's Favorite Treats with You
The night before the vet visit, fill up a hollow bone or Kong toy with peanut butter, plain yogurt, or some other yummy treat. Put it in the freezer overnight and bring it to the vet's office. It can occupy your pup in the waiting room and during the examination; many dogs are so happy with their bone, they don't notice when they get shots!
Give Lots of Praise
After the visit is over, and your dog has behaved at least reasonably well, make sure to give lots of praise. Try to avoid too much snuggling during the visit since that could signal positive reinforcement of nervous behavior. But after the visit is over, another treat and lots of "good dog" comments can be helpful in making positive connections with the office.
Many dogs do not like vet visits, but with a few intentional steps, you can make the experience much easier for both you and your furry friend.