Your Dog and the Exam Room

We always like to wonder what our loved little fur buddies are thinking when we take them to visit the veterinarian. Whether it is a visit for a routine health check-up and vaccinations or it is because our family pet is not feeling well, animals do appear to act somewhat differently at the vet’s office. Here are some of the things we believe our pets are wondering when they come into the clinic and some of the tips we can do to make their experience more enjoyable.

  1. Where am I?

Little ‘Fido’ thought you were taking him to go to the park or maybe going to visit some friends, but instead he has just found out that he is at the place where once a year some stranger in a white coat pokes and prods them and tries to feed them treats that are much too healthy. He was tricked! Whether it is your pets first time to the clinic, it is their once a year check-up, or it is where they go when they are not feeling well, the veterinarian’s office does not tend to be a place which they associate with good things. We would like to think that we can change that to help make our pets experience at Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital a more enjoyable one by recommending that you come visit us more often. We love to visit! Your pets can socialize with our staff’s animals and be given treats (even tasty ones sometimes) and of course lots of snuggles.

  1. What is going on here?

We like to try and keep a low stress, positive environment as much as possible. If you are comfortable with going to the vet clinic, then more often than not your pet will be as well. Positive reinforcement with treats and praise is recommended when ‘Fido’ is in for his visit with the veterinarian. It also helps if your animal is able to respond to some basic commands and also be able to be touched everywhere on his/her body so the veterinarian can perform their thorough physical exam. This will require training at home beforehand.

  1. Are these people dangerous?

Often times your family ‘guard dog’ will be wondering if they need to protect you while they are at the veterinary clinic. Again we would like to make your pets and everyone’s experience at the clinic an enjoyable visit without having anyone get hurt or traumatizing our furry little friend. Reassuring your pet while at the clinic that everything is ok and encouraging them to socialize in an appropriate manner will help let them know that everything is ok.

  1. Is my owner abandoning me?

We also see many animals become ‘paralyzed’ or shaking in fear when they come to visit us. They hide underneath the chair or insist on being picked up and held. Encouraging them to come out of hiding and rewarding them for coming out or being held by other people is a great way to help discourage this kind of behaviour.

  1. What are these smells?

Whether it be the smell of the last dog or cat which were roaming around the exam room, or even the rabbit or strange lizard that is waiting in the waiting room, or the cleaning agents that are used in between appointments, there are many new and foreign smells at the veterinary clinic. These new smells can entice your pet’s curiosity, or it may frighten them. We like to encourage exploration (within reason) to allow them to become familiar with these different smells and help make them more comfortable.

We hope your next trip to Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital is a happy one!

Written by Dr Sarah Hanson