MYTH: My big old lovable mutt is terrified of going to the Vet's. As he has health problems we have to go every couple of months. He now fights me when I go to put him in the car and when we get there, he has to be drug out by his collar. Then he crouches on the floor and urinates all over himself. The Vet said I should give him a mild tranquilizer (Sedative) 40 minutes before the trip. This is dangerous for my dog isn't it? Being tranquilized every two months?

FACT: Normally, the use of tranquilizers for this purpose would not be harmful. Many cat owners, for example, cannot take their animals anywhere without the use of such drugs. However, in your case, since I don't know your big, old, lovable mutt’s health status, for some conditions it may not be recommended that tranquilizers or sedatives be used. BUT because of the fact that your Vet has suggested the use of a tranquilizer or sedative, I am assuming he has considered the risks involve for your particular case. Giving such medication to your dog may help him to better accept the frequent trips to the Vet and help him to be less fearful and anxious about the visit. Tranquilizers or Sedatives are not dangerous when the animal is given the appropriate dosage for its weight and not given more than is absolutely necessary to achieve the desired effect. It would be harmful for him to be given such drugs without the supervision or knowledge of your Veterinarian. There are a few other things you may want to try though, to help teach your dog how to better handle the stress and learn that it is not always a bad thing to be going to the Vet. You say he doesn't even want to get in the vehicle anymore, how about taking him for rides with you just to go to the store, or the park, AND YES, for visits to the Vet clinic without being examined. Maybe it could be pre-arranged that be given treats and hugs by the staff. He needs a lot of "Positive Reinforcements" to balance the negatives he is getting from his frequent trips for Veterinary attention. Above all he needs you as a CALMING INFLUENCE, offering praise and reassurance at all times. It is sometimes found that the owners themselves get tense and nervous about the visit. Without knowing it, they are relaying to their PET, that something BAD is about to happen. Owners may indeed hide their nervousness from the Vet and his staff, but NEVER from their beloved Pet. Pet’s using their Keen senses, pick up on their owner’s emotions and are overcome with Apprehension. Stay TOTALLY Calm in both your Voice and Physical movements and that will help a super, great amount.

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