Tips and Tricks for Taking Your Dog to the Veterinarian

Sometimes, getting your dog to the veterinarian for an appointment can be a source of anxiety (both for you and your pet!). Below you’ll find a few tips that can help make the trip a less stressful experience for everyone involved.

For the safety of your pet and other pets, it's very important to have them on a leash or in a carrier. When pets are frightened they may try and run away from the thing that is frightening them. Having your pet confined in a carrier or in a well-fitting collar or harness with a leash attached can help prevent any issues.

Survey the Environment

When you arrive at your veterinarian’s office, take notice of your surroundings, and make a judgement call based on your pet’s reaction. If your dog is skittish or nervous around other animals, try to avoid waiting in areas with other dogs, excessive noise or a lot of activity in general.

If your dog seems stressed upon arrival, take a short walk or move to an empty, quieter area. To help eliminate some of your stress, it may be ideal to bring another person with you to the visit. One of you can handle the dog and the other can take care of checking in.

In addition, taking your dog to the vet’s office just for a social visit can help your dog associate going to the doctor with fun. If you regularly visit a Banfield location inside of a PetSmart store, feel free to take a tour of the waiting room with your dog anytime you're in the store. If your Banfield is not in a PetSmart store, you can drop by anytime for a tour of the lobby.

Use Treats as a Distraction

Treats can be a very effective way to change your dog’s emotional and mental state. 

To avoid over-feeding your dog, don’t feed your pet before the appointment, and bring a bag of your pet’s favorite treats with you. By distracting your dog and providing treats throughout the veterinary visit, you can help create a positive association for your dog with the hospital and veterinary team.

Consider Using Products to Reduce Anxiety

Your veterinarian can advise you about calming pheromone products that are often effective for managing dog anxiety. They are available as diffusers and sprays, and may help keep your dog relaxed during future appointments.

Getting your dog to a vet appointment can be difficult at times, but following these tips along with talking with your local veterinary team, can help minimize the stress that these visits place on you and your dog.

Need More Information on Dog Behavior?

Feel free to browse our pet health resources library for more articles like the ones below and additional information on how to better understand and effectively address your dog’s behavior.