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Monday, June 28, 2010

Drop Off Vet Visits: Handle with Care!

(c) by Carrie Boyko

How does your dog manage visits to the vet? Is he nervous and fearful, or calm and friendly? Often your dog's acceptance of a veterinarian is related to your own body language and communication style with the staff and vet. Your dog is always watching you for cues that a new environment is safe and 'friendly'. If your demeanor says 'I'm comfortable and confident here', then your dog is likely to follow suit, especially if you employ this method from day one.

Here's one other strategy you might employ to assure you dog's vet visits are as smooth as possible. Many vets offer early drop off and late pickup for dogs of owners who work all day. This is, indeed, a convenient service for the owner, but sometimes we forget the dog's part in this equation.

A pup that is confined to a crate in the back of a vet's office for an entire day may become  nervous, stressed or even fearful. Of course, this is likely not the veterinarian's fault; let's be clear on that. The problem generally stems from the unfamiliar environment, the dog's inability to explore and become comfortable with it, and the noise factor.

We've all heard the barking dogs in the crates of a vet's office. Hearing a bunch of nervous cats and dogs barking and meowing all day could certainly rev up your dogs nerves. I'd bark too if I knew there were busy people all around whom I hoped would stop and give me some attention. It's just not an ideal situation for the dogs, even though it works great for us and the vets.

If getting your dog to the vet is urgent, and cannot wait until their Saturday hours, then by all means, drop him off for his needed care. If he comes home with an uneasy attitude and takes a while to pull himself together, you'll know why. Whenever possible, consider scheduling non-emergency check ups and tests on a day off from work. Your pup will feel more confident in your presence, and you'll have a happier companion at home.

Related Reading:

Preparing your Puppy for a Lifetime of Happy Vet Visits
Help protect our precious dog parks
© Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved

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Nature by Dawn said...

Sephi's old vet started requiring the drop-off for routine exams. At first, I was okay with it. But when I went to pick her up, she ran out and practically dragged me to the car. Her eyes were wide and dialated, and she was shaking. Obviously she had spent the whole day in absolute terror. I felt so aweful. The next time she had an appointment, I had to convince my vet not to make us do the drop of. I guess they got a lot of complaints so soon after they stopped requiring the drop off and made it an option only.

Groomers is another place with a "convenient" drop off. And in our experience, they don't offer an appointment unless you pay an extra fee. Sephi hated the groomer's too so we found a self-service dog wash place for her.

Because of Sephi's experience, Maya has never had to suffer any drop-off at the vet or groomer. She has been dropped off at a doggie day care but she absolutely LOVES that place.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Good for Sephi and Maya that she has a mom who cares.

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