Scared dog

Is your dog stressed when you go to the vet?

Going to the vet can be a stressful experience for dogs, a new study shows.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide used heart rate monitors to see how 30 dogs of different ages and breeds reacted during a visit to the vet for a routine physical examination.

They found that in some dogs, their average heart rate doubled between the waiting room and the examination table.

Dog in bed

The dogs’ average heart rate in the waiting room was 97 beats per minute (bpm). However, during the examination around one-third of the dogs had heart rates peaking at over 180 bpm.

“Regular veterinary care is integral to companion dog health and welfare, but fearful patients can inhibit provision of care and pose a risk of injury to veterinary staff,” the researchers said in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.

“Veterinary staff and guardians must take every reasonable step to reduce or prevent a fearful experience during veterinary visits.”

To help make your dog’s next trip to the vet less stressful for both of you…

  • Spend a short time each day checking your dog’s ears and teeth, and holding their paws. Be gentle and make sure your dog gets lots of praise and some treats during these practice exams.
  • Arrange a few ‘social’ visits to your veterinary surgery for some friendly petting from the receptionist, a chance to have a sniff around the waiting room, and lots of praise and treats from you.
  • Calming collars, herbal supplements and pheromone sprays may also help make your dog feel more relaxed and comfortable.
  • Last but not least, be mindful of your own anxiety. If you project calm confidence, your dog will pick it up!

Senior dog insurance from Petwise includes access to unlimited video consultations with fully qualified veterinary surgeons 24/7, 365 days a year at your convenience, in the comfort of your own home.

The FirstVet service can save you money that would have been spent on an unnecessary trip to the vet, without affecting your premium. And you can get advice, treatment or a referral to your local vet, if required.