Even people who aren't that bothered by needles don't really like having injections. So it's not surprising that dogs can be terrified by the experience, when you can't explain to them what's going on and reassure them there's nothing to worry about.
Some dogs are generally more nervous than others, whether it's because of the way they've been treated by humans in the past or just their general temperament. With nervous dogs, vaccinations are particularly challenging, and owners dread that time of year when they're due to see the vet.
If you have a nervous dog, try these tips to make the vaccination appointment less stressful for you, your dog and your vet.
Start preparing in advance
Dogs are extremely perceptive, and the slightest change in routine can tip them off that something unpleasant is happening. For dogs who never go in the car except to go to the vet, being bundled into your vehicle is a big red flag.
As early as possible, start getting your dog used to going in the car to more fun places, like the woods or the beach. You should also foster positive associations with other vet-related clues, like pet carriers.
Let the vet know
Vets see a lot of animals, so they might not remember your dog even if there's been a difficult experience in the past. When you make the appointment, let them know about your nervous pet.
They might be able to make special preparations or suggest calming medication that can help. At the very least, everyone will know what to expect when you arrive.
Wait outside as long as possible
Vet waiting rooms are unpleasant for nervous dogs, with strange animals everywhere and the familiar smell reminding them where they are.
If you can, wait outside the surgery and ask the reception staff to call you in when the vet is ready. This minimises the time spent inside the building where your dog can get more stressed.
Take plenty of treats
Treats are always the key to a dog's heart, and they can work wonders when it comes to calming them down.
When the vet is actually administering the dog vaccinations, feed your dog treats and give them lots of praise to take their mind off where they are. The whole thing will be over before they know it.
Try to keep yourself calm
Dogs pick up on human emotions, so if you're getting stressed about the vaccination appointment, it can make your dog worse.
Try to stay calm and act like it's no big deal, and remember that with these tips, the experience will be much more pleasant than any previous ones.