Vet Anxiety

It’s strange: every dog ​​I know gets at least nervous, if not anxious, right before a vet appointment. The evening before the appointment for the booster vaccination or something similar, the four-legged friends get restless and in the morning it’s all over. The drive to the practice becomes a test of nerves for both humans and animals. The latter often trembles like an aspen leaf as soon as it goes into the waiting room. Many dog ​​owners are very surprised when the dog has been in their possession since puppyhood and has never had a bad experience with their trusted veterinarian. In humans, this is called “white coat syndrome”. This can lead to a massive increase in blood pressure and headaches, nosebleeds, and dizziness. To what extent your fur child suffers, what you can do about it, and why it is actually shivering so much, I have taken a closer look for you.

Causes for This Fear of the Vet

I thought of a simple example: If you have never taken your child to the dentist and then he or she has to go there and at the first appointment tooth decay is found there and the drill is pulled out – how will the child react? That’s right, it automatically becomes afraid of going to the dentist.

The situation is similar with your dog and the veterinarian: the dog is very sensitive and quickly notices when you are under tension. This stress transfers to your pet without them knowing why.

Another reason may be that your dog may have already had experience at the vet. Especially in the case of dog owners who have not had their darling with them since puppyhood, it is uncertain what has happened before. Dogs from abroad, in particular, usually do not know any veterinary care at all and therefore have to learn how to deal with it. After all, it smells completely different on its own than in normal environments. The scents of other animals and disinfectants mix here, as well as fear, because they can also smell fear.


The tail is usually pinched, and the dog often trembles – sometimes the whole day before the visit to the vet. It can get particularly bad on-site: heavy panting and salivating express the stress of the suffering animal. The four-legged friend usually has no appetite, even the day before, and seems almost lethargic. Sleeping at night is often unthinkable. The animal then looks correspondingly made on the morning of the upcoming appointment. The puppy’s formative phase takes place in the 5th to 12th week of life – if a lot has been missed here or even traumatic experiences have taken place, this dog needs a lot of patience and loving support.

Solutions to Fear

Especially when you have your fur child with you from puppyhood, you have so many options to act prophylactically against panic in front of the vet. Prepare him or her: You walk to the vet’s office quite regularly. Here your dog can sniff the waiting room, preferably in the morning. In the waiting room, it doesn’t smell so strong after so many other animals. This rite is repeated regularly and there should definitely be a treat in the waiting room. This reward effect works small miracles. In addition, nothing happens there at first, because this walk should take place as normally as possible.

You can also start getting your dog used to being “examined” from time to time at home: at home, i.e. in familiar surroundings, you can always put your four-legged friend on a table and put them in his mouth look and feel his stomach. In this way, he gets used to this rite in advance, as it will take place at the vet at some point.

Also, try to always look calmly at the vet appointment yourself. Because your inner turmoil is automatically transferred to your dog.

Dogs that only come home later and may have had a negative experience with the vet in advance are much more relaxed if the appointment is a home visit. Ask your veterinarian to come to your dog’s familiar and comfortable environment in order to administer the missing vaccination at home if necessary. So your dog doesn’t have to deal with a new environment with new smells and strange impressions.

Medicinal Support

In the case of very suffering scared dogs, chemical mace is sometimes used, which should of course generally be avoided if possible. Therefore, as an alternative, there is still the possibility of Bach flower therapy: Putting rescue drops in the food of your pet does not make it lethargic or sleepy, but simply calmer and relaxed inside.

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