When I first got my adorable Shih Tzu, Coco, I did a lot of research about Shih Tzu health and her veterinary needs. But despite all the reading, I could not be prepared for her first nervous trip to the vet. The poor puppy trembled as the doctor examined her. I knew she was in good hands, but I didn’t know how to soothe her.
After that first visit, I studied up on successful methods for cheering Coco up during her checkups. I even asked my own vet for suggestions. Ever since, Coco has been a real trooper. With long waits and expensive bills, going to the vet can be frustrating enough as an owner, so ensuring a pleasant experience for your puppy is a good way to cut out one more unnecessary stress.
So here are some tips for keeping your puppy carefree at her next biannual check-up. Owner tested… Coco approved!
Take your dog out for a long walk before visiting the vet. Your dog will be calmer from the exercise and ready to sit still through the waiting room process. Also, giving your dog a chance to relieve herself before her appointment will help prevent accidents in the vet’s office.
Bring your dog to the vet in a carrier. Even if she’s generally docile on her leash, if your dog is small enough (like Coco), it is best to bring her in her travel crate. A carrier will provide your dog with a calming, familiar environment, especially if you pack it with soft bedding, favorite toys, and old clothes with your comforting scent on them. The carrier will also protect your puppy from other ill or aggressive pets at the clinic.
Be attentive to your dog. Keep the dog on your lap or at your side. She may be eager to meet new friends, but interacting with other dogs may get her too excited. Speak to your dog in calming tones. Lots of petting keeps Coco a content princess – physical attention is key!
Visit regularly. This one should go without saying, but regular visits to the vet, even if just for checkups and weighings, are not only great for preventative health measures, but also for getting your dog used to the examination process. This will be especially helpful in the super stressful instances in which the dog has an actual health issue.
Schedule appointments for off-peak hours. Generally, veterinary clinics are busiest before 10am and after 4pm – when pet owners are out of work. Crowds of people and puppies can be overwhelming for your pet, so try to stick to quieter hours.
Research! Choose a veterinarian with a good reputation. I was referred to Coco’s current vet by a friend. Online review sites like Yelp and Citysearch can also direct you to the best vet clinics in your neighborhood. Of course, make sure to find a vet who is board certified and has successfully completed the North
American Veterinary Licensing Examination (Navle Exam).
Keeping your dog calm at the vet will mean a less stressful experience for both you and your pooch. So if you’ve been having trouble with examinations, try out some of these tips to improve your next vet appointment!