If you recently adopted an adult dog with an unknown veterinary visit history, then you are likely stressing out about taking the dog to the vet center for the first time. While you may be worried about the dog's ability to behave itself while confined in the strange surroundings of a new veterinary clinic, you will be pleased to learn that there are many things you can do to ensure that your dog will behave and even enjoy the experience.
Here are some time-tested dog behavior strategies you can use to help your dog stay calm when visiting the stressful environment of your local vet center:
Associate Your Car with Fun Before Vet Clinic Visits
If you have not yet had the opportunity to take your new dog for a fun ride in your car, then you should not make their first trip the one you take to the vet center. By taking your dog to the vet on their first car ride, your dog may associate getting into your vehicle with getting poked and prodded at the vet center. This association can lead to car problems down the road with your dog.
To help your dog associate rides in the car with fun and get them to load into your vehicle willingly when you ask them to, take your dog to a park or somewhere fun on their first few car rides. Take along a ball and some treats and show your dog how fun those car rides can be for them. These memories will help your dog to offset the scarier memories of the vet's office.
Make a Dress Rehearsal Trip
If you take the time to see a vet clinic visit from your dog's perspective, going to somewhere strange and having people you are not familiar with handling you and doing things you might not enjoy can be very unpleasant. To help your dog tolerate all of the handling a bit better, take them to your vet's office before your appointment day and let them simply walk around and sniff the space. Take along a toy or treat and let your new dog see how enjoyable the office can be to visit. This will help them feel a lot more secure on your next visit and will help them feel better about being handled by the staff.
Feed and Walk Your Dog Prior to Their Appointment
Unless the vet clinic has asked you to withhold food or water from your new dog, you should always feed your dog a few hours before their appointment and then walk them. A well fed and well walked dog will be less apt to act out because they are hungry or need to use the bathroom while at the vet center.