Jade had a check-up at the ophthalmologist last week, and as I was getting all of my stuff together the night before, I realized it might be helpful to share how I normally prep for a trip to the vet office, the visit itself, and how we spend the remainder of the day. I hope this brings you some value and insight for the next time you're headed to the vet with your dog.
Let's start with the bag. The best way to ensure you got everything you need is to put everything in a backpack or tote bag. Think of it like a vet visit bug out bag! Grab it and go.
What's in the bag?
A small hand towel - mainly for drool or other dog-related wiping
A thin, portable mat for your dog to stand or lie down on (I honestly prefer a thin bathmat with the rubber backing for it to stay put) - dogs prefer traction and will appreciate having a softer, more stable surface, especially from those cold, slippery hospital floors. Bonus tip: this can be of great help if your dog needs to be put on a scale or one of the metal tables to be examined
A small portable water bowl - I usually use this to offer them water after the appointment
Other things I do to help the situation overall:
I give Jade some yard time or a short walk before we head into the car
I give her a calming treat before we leave. (Please talk to your vet about medication if your dog is severely stressed for these visits)
In the car, I play dog calming music or relaxing music at a lower volume - we want to promote relaxation and lower stress
When we arrive at the vet, I let Jade sniff around outside for a couple minutes before walking in
Once in lobby, I try to stay as far away from other people and their dogs as possible. I put her mat down and try to reward and praise her calmly as we wait. If your dog doesn't do well in the lobby, consider staying in your car and having the vet call you when it's your turn)
Once in the exam room, I put Jade's mat down again and let her get as relaxed as possible. Lots of calm praise, rewards, and gentle pets
Throughout the examination I continue to calmly praise her, try to reward her, and reassure her that I am there for her
When we leave the appointment, I offer her water and then we get on the road again back home
Back at home:
Once we get back home, I usually let her out in the yard for some potty time and to decompress for a few moments. After that, I make sure her water bowl is filled with fresh water and I do everything I can to make the environment as relaxing as possible. I put on the fan for some ambient noise or turn on a dog music playlist and just let her rest. Vet visits can be stressful on your dog and it's important we give them some time to recuperate and get readjusted back home.
I hope this helps you feel even more prepared for your next visit to the vet with your dog.
What other things would you like to know about our routines? Let me know in the comments!
Take care and talk soon,