How Do I Stop My Dog From Being Scared of the Vet

How do I stop my dog from being scared at the vet

Dear Hindy,

Ever since my puppy Ellie went to the vet for her shots, she’s been terrified of going back. The second she sees where we’re going she puts the brakes on, and nothing can move her. She’s too big to lift so I end up dragging her, and then it’s stress and muzzles once we’re there. Surely there is a better way! Thank you, Stella.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Being Scared At the Vet

*There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I may make a commission. This has no effect on the price you pay.*

Dear Stella,

I feel your pain, I really do because Jack is the same. Actually he never used to be like this only with this vet because the first couple of times he went was for anal gland problems. Need I say more?

Here are few things to try –

Visit your vet’s office but not for an appointment, but rather to help Ellie see it’s not all bad. Have the staff make a fuss of her, even give her a favourite treat.

Play some calming music at home that will relax her, then play the same at the vet. She should be reminded of the way it relaxes her. I used to do that with one of my dogs and it made a big difference.

Exam tables are very slippery and cold. Bringing a spongy non slip mat will help, or ask your vet to provide you with something.

Get your dog used to being touched.

Feed her tasty treats or play with a favourite toy while you’re waiting.

If her stress levels are still too high before your next appointment, consider some natural stress relievers like Rescue Remedy, Lemon Balm or Valerian.

Perhaps she would be more comfortable with a house call.

Good luck.




Hindy Pearson
I am a dog trainer and behaviour consultant, specialising in working with first time dog owners. Whether you're thinking of getting a dog and aren't sure if it's the right time, or you've been sharing your life with one for awhile but there are issues you can't resolve, I am here for you. No matter where in the world you live I can help.


  1. Ruth Epstein

    Layla will not even walk past the vet office even if we are not going in so what I have found that works with her is carrying her in her backpack which she loves and it also becomes less stressful for her. The cold table always has a towel on so it is not cold and slippery and the vet techs there hand out treats all the time. So that has become my solution with her.

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Great ideas Ruth, glad you’ve found things to help Layla cope! Pretty much the only time Jack has gone to the vet is for his anal glands, so when we get within a 10 minute walk of the vet he puts the brakes on and I have to carry him. I’ve taken him there just to pick stuff up so he doesn’t think that’s the only reason we go, still not having any of it. Thank goodness for muzzles!

  2. M Dawson

    Our cats are not keen on the vet but, unlike a large dog, I can at least get them into a carrier!

    Dog lovers will welcome your tips I am sure!

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      When I had cats they were a nightmare bringing to the vet, particularly my sweetie Calypso. I rescued her as feral kitten so she was always high strung. You can’t imagine what I went through to get her to the vet it was a nightmare. My saving grace was Feliway.

  3. Kamira

    I understand your pain. The preparation (and visit) to the vet is never a seamless one. In the past I have tried calming spray however didn’t really work well for me. With my two cats, I found that bringing a familiar toy and blanket full of scent from home in their carrier helped them. It didn’t make the vet visit less scary or annoying for them, but they did have less anxiety.

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Red was a little angel to take to the vet, she was so easy going it never bothered it but Jack is a different story. Glad those tips were helpful, but in Jack’s case the only thing that would make a visit less stressful is not having one!!

  4. Beth

    These are great tips for frightened dogs. My sister’s dog used to shake with fear while she waited in the vet’s office. It was so sad.

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Thanks Beth. It must have been so sad to watch.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!