An Injection of Calm: How to Calm Your Nervous Dog Before Vaccinations

If you're the owner of a nervous dog, you'll know that no trip to the vet is an easy task.  However your dog reacts to their anxiety, be it through bad behaviour, shivering or having small accidents, it can vastly complicate their appointments - and make you feel guilty in the process.  Unfortunately, vaccinations are of vital importance; they're just one part of dog ownership that cannot be skipped.  As such, you're going to need some strategies to try and assist your dog as you head into the veterinary centre for their inoculations.  Not everything will work for every dog, but here are at least a few things you can try.

Bring a 'Friend'

Just like humans, dogs can often be distracted from their nervousness.  If your dog has a favourite toy that may bring them some comfort, you should consider bringing it along to the appointment.  It won't be the first time the vet has seen this happen; so long as your dog is well-behaved in the waiting room, it shouldn't pose a problem.  Of course, the toy should be something small and portable, and it shouldn't make a noise.  After all, other dogs may also be nervous in the waiting room, and additional noise won't help them!

Set a Good Example

Your dog takes cues from you more than you may realise.  As such, if you're worried about how your dog will react as you head into the vet's office, your dog will pick up on that worry and reflect it back at you.  Of course, it's impossible not to care about your furry friend if you think they'll be afraid - but if you can act like nothing is wrong, to the best of your ability, then it may help your dog to feel calm.  This can include not fussing over your dog, too.  Making a big show of acknowledging their fear and constantly petting them only reassures their feeling that something is unusual and wrong.  While it may feel heartless, keeping that to a minimum could actually help.

Get Clinical Assistance

If it becomes a serious problem that cannot be controlled with gentle changes to your training and treatment of your dog, then speaking to a vet may help.  Dogs can be prescribed medication for anxiety just like humans can - and there are also wearable leashes and clothing for your dog which reduce anxiety.  Again, these may not work for every animal - particularly the non-drug options - but they may be worth a try if the issue persists.

Whatever you choose to do to help your dog, know that you're doing right by them.  Even if they're afraid of having their vaccinations done, they aren't enduring that fear for nothing; you're keeping them safe and being a responsible owner by putting them through it.  Put on a brave face, and good luck!