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10 February 2010: Catahoula Leopard Dog

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First Dog Vet Visits: How To Avoid A Nightmare

By Kelly Marshall

Taking your dog or puppy to the vet doesn’t have to be traumatic provided that it is handled and managed well right from the very first encounter. Most puppies will already have been to the vet at least once, about a the six to ten week stage to get their first set of vaccinations and to have a quick physical examination. However, some breeders may do their own vaccinations depending on local regulations and laws regarding the sale of some of the vaccinations.

Even if the puppy has been to the vet with the breeder it is still important to start your puppy or dog’s relationship with your vet as positively as possible. This can be done by following a few simple steps and avoiding any trauma or stressful conditions while in or at the veterinarian’s office.

To prepare your puppy for the vet visit first:

  • Take your puppy or dog for a good long walk prior to going to the veterinarian’s office. If you are concerned about worms, and with a puppy this is definitely a concern, try to bring a fresh stool sample in a small zip lock plastic bag. The vet needs the sample to check for microscopic worms, eggs or larva in the stool. Just a small amount is required but it will speed up the process and prevent you from having to make another trip on at a later date.
  • If your puppy or dog is used to a crate be sure to put them in the crate both for the ride over as well as to go into the vet’s office.
  • If the puppy or dog is not crate trained or is too large for a crate be sure to have them on a lead or a leash. Even well trained dogs may become frightened and run, or may become aggressive with other animals in the vet’s waiting room.
  • If you know that your dog is aggressive towards other pets leave them in the car, notify the staff that you are there, and then wait to bring the dog in until the vet is ready.
  • Stay with the dog in the examination room and pet and talk to the puppy or dog in comforting tones.

Bring a few treats and let the vet give the treats to the dog or puppy. Most vets will have their own “healthy” dog snacks and this is a great way for the dog or puppy to enjoy a trip to the vets.

Be aware that the vet will weight the dog or puppy, take a rectal temperature reading, check the dogs ears, eyes and skin, check the genital areas, palpitate the abdomen and listen to the dog’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope. In addition the vet will check the dogs teeth and gums and may also take samples of skin cells, blood or other body fluids if they are concerned with issues such as mites, heartworm or other parasites.

These examinations do not cause the dog any pain, and even the vaccinations are just a slight needle prick, not anything painful. By making the first visit positive and enjoyable for the dog or puppy you are establishing a great relationship between the dog and the vet that will be ongoing. Always make a big fuss and give lots of praise to the dog for a good trip to the vets. On the way home consider a stop at the park for an extra bit of exercise or play as a great way to wind up the trip.

About the Author: If your puppy behaves nicely at that first trip to the vet, reward him with a cool looking dog bed or dog feeder from Oh My Dog Supplies!



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