Anyone who has ever taken a cat to the vet knows that it can be a stressful experience for both feline and human. Just the sight of a cat carrier can send your cat into hiding! This stress and anxiety is one of the reasons that, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), cats are far less likely to go to the vet than dogs. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way!
As eye infections in dogs are common, your veterinarian may prescribe eye drops for your dog at some point. After introducing your dog to eye drops to acclimate your dog to the approach of the eye-drop bottle, your dog now has positive associations with the bottle. However, the application of the actual drops can be aversive for many dogs (and humans), so how do you teach your dog to cooperate?
In the course of their lifetimes, most dogs will get an ear infection that requires ear drops. However, administering ear drops to an ear that is already sensitive and/or painful is intimidating for the caregiver and frightening for the animal. Cooperative care involves training an animal not only to tolerate handling and husbandry procedures such as receiving ear drops, but to be an active, willing participant in these experiences.
Does your dog resist oral medication? If so, you are not alone. Most dogs (like people) don’t enjoy swallowing pills. However, if you open your dog’s mouth forcefully to push a pill down his throat, you may lose your dog’s hard-earned trust—and he may not allow you to touch his mouth area any more. How do you make administering oral medication a positive experience for both you and your dog?
Receiving eye drops can be quite stressful for many dogs (and humans!). However, with some planning and training, you can teach your dog to participate willingly. It can be an eye-opening experience!
Let’s face it, most diagnostic or therapeutic procedures are not pleasant for dogs. However, by practicing at home for what the dog will need to do during a procedure, such as holding a stationary position, pet owners can help to ensure that procedures go more smoothly.