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My dog is TERRIFIED of the vet.

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Tavl, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Tavl

    Tavl PetForums Newbie

    Jan 3, 2020
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    Hello everyone,

    Wanted to get some advice from people who have difficulty taking their dogs to the vet.

    We have a rescued staffordshire bullterrier, that we adopted 5 years ago. He is the most sweetest dog I've ever had - mind you I've had yorkshire terriers, a schnauzer and mix bichon frise/poodle, and they weren't as sweet. Our Staffy is PETRIFIED of the vet and we don't know why. He will gladly go into the clinic, cry a bit but still wag his tail and kisses everyone that greets him. When we first adopted him, he was fine with the vet at the rescue centre. I have a feeling that it all started when we took him to a local vet where he needed a massive operation because a bone tore his intestine. A second operation occurred when he ate rat poison that was in the park. I also have a gut feeling that not only did the operation traumatize him, but also the staff because he wasn't terrified of vets/vet staff touching him.

    We recently brought him to the vet because we think he has a problem with his anal sac - there is blood when he poops and he licks his bum a lot. This is our 3rd time trying to get him checked out but this time it was WORSE because he bit 3 staff who were trying to sedate him - take note, he has NEVER bitten anyone before. He was really scared and anxious and his body language really showed it, even when given sedation pill an hour before his appointment. The last time he was sedated, the staff had to tie him to a rail and come from behind. According to my mom, it wasn't a pleasing to watch. On the other hand, we've been also tried to muzzle him but when we successfully muzzled him, he will not stop shaking his head and tries to take it off with his paws.

    At this point, we are really struggling and I don't want to not get him checked out because maybe there's a chance something bad might happen. Like any dog lover, I really love and care for him and I don't want anything bad to happen to him. Any advice would be grateful!

    P.S I know there is a lot discrimination about this breed or any type of bull terrier breeds, if you have nothing good to say about the breed, I'm asking nicely for you to not comment.
  2. mrs phas

    mrs phas karma is a funny old thing

    Apr 6, 2014
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    you cant just stick a muzzle on him and expect him to take it, this goes for any dog
    you have to take it slow and start with just showing it to him, if he looks/sniffs at it, then reward
    you need to build this up slowly until hes happily putting his nose in to retrieve a treat from the basket ( dont use those awful net muzzles, if he panics he wnt be able to pant)
    and the putting it on happily, with the expectation of a treat
    tjos could take months, but he will become habituated to it
    You also MUSTNT just use it for vet as otherwise hell never accept it, cos muzzle = vet, vet= scared dog, anticipation when muzzle goes on = dog in total panic fight or flight mode

    As for vet, take him in lots of times, treat for just calmly crossing threshold then treat for allowing receptions nurses to treat him, more treats for sitting quietly in waitiing room, then just visiting clinic room with no one in there, then meeting vet before going into clinic room, then vet in clinic room, then vet in clinic room and touching him
    again this could take months, but its worth it in the end
    Torin., Linda Weasel and Burrowzig like this.
  3. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

    Jul 29, 2017
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    Good advice above I would spend time muzzle training him and not just using it on vets visits. Maybe look for another vet who may have experience working with nervous dogs.
  4. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

    Aug 27, 2008
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    Good advice from Mrs Phas there! Sounds like its going to take months of slowly desensitising him to every aspect of things. Muzzle, vets, being touched, etc.
  5. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

    May 23, 2018
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    Do you know what they're using to sedate him?

    A common tranquilizer, acepromazine can cause fear and anxiety to worsen:

    A better tranquilizer to try is Alprazolam:

    I would also buy him a well fitting muzzle that he can pant and take treats in, and desensitize him to wearing it. Ideally turn the muzzle in to predictor of fun, happy things.

    If your dog is fine in the vet's waiting room, see if you can arrange for multiple visits where all you do is walk in to the waiting room, have happy things happen, then walk back out again. Over, and over, and over again.

    In the meantime, if you're still struggling with his anal glands, see if you can get the vet to come out to the car or parking lot and examine him there (muzzled and tranquilized) until you can get him more comfortable going in.
    Burrowzig, JoanneF and Torin. like this.
  6. mrs phas

    mrs phas karma is a funny old thing

    Apr 6, 2014
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    sorry i missed the bit about his anal gland visit
    i dont know what you feed him, but you could try giving him a couple of raw chicken wings, as a meal, a couple of times a week
    the bone content hardens their poops, due to extra calcium content, which helps empty the anal glands as he passes a poop ( not sure if your old enough to remember seeing white dog poo back in the day, but that was due to bone content and very few dogs ever had problems with anal glands in those days)
    All my dogs are raw fed, and have been for the 35 yrs ive kept my own dogs ( parents fed bones and butchers scraps too) my old girl was 14 when she passed last year ( mastiff x boxer) and in the 10 years she lived with us, never had a problem with glands and neither have the three dogs who still live here, nor the previous umpteen dogs before them
    not saying raw is the be all and end all, because its not
    just that a couple of meals of RAW,never cooked, chicken wings might help
  7. Billbailey

    Billbailey Banned

    Dec 22, 2019
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    I feed Bill raw chicken wings a couple of times a week for that reason. Safest way to get bone into him. I don't feed raw meat apart from those though. I usually cook his chicken and offal due to bacteria in abbatoirs. I can't afford to buy commercial raw food and, given the recent scare about tuberculosis in cats, I'm not sure I'd trust it anyway. So wings are the only things I take the risk with.

    Plus he really likes them.
    mrs phas likes this.
  8. Happy Paws2

    Happy Paws2 PetForums VIP

    Sep 13, 2008
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    You can get vets that will come out to the house, then if the dog has to go in for treatment they will help you sort out a way to get your dog there.
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