Stress and Visiting the Vet During COVID

Written by Brittni Odland

December 18, 2020

Going to the Doctor or Veterinarian can be stressful for anyone and that includes our four-legged family members. That stress can be increased during these strange times dealing with COVID and all that comes with it.  In an effort to keep everyone safe, you may not be able to accompany your pet and be with them when they come for an exam or procedure. This can add to the stress of a visit for both pet and owner.

Helpful tips

  • Your pet knows how you feel about a given situation. Try to be as calm and positive about the experience as you can.
  • If your dog tends to be anxious, try taking them on a long walk or exercising them before your visit. The more tired they are, the less energy they will have to be anxious and the easier they will be able to relax. 
  • Have all documents and records sent or readily available before your arrival to make wait times shorter. The less time your pet has to anticipate and build up anxiety, the better their visit will go. Records can be sent to Northern Vet by email at

Good behavior outside the house starts with good behavior at home. You can help your pet’s stress level by getting them used to various things that may happen when they come for a vet visit. Most of these suggestions work best when started at a young age but it is never too late to work on it.

Recommendations for home training

  • Be sure to get them used to being handled and touched in places that you may not normally need to. For example: legs, toes, belly, tail, outside portion of ear canal, or lips.
  • Your dog may need to be restrained for procedures; this may be difficult for them to understand. Practice hugging them close to hold them in one spot for a short length of time. If you are able, gently lay them on their side for a time.  Let them go when they are relaxed and not struggling. This will teach them that it is not their choice, but yours, when the exercise is ended. 
  • Good socialization can also reduce the stress of being in a new place. If they have already met many new people, been to many new places, ridden in the car etc., the vet will become just another new place to explore and meet new people.
  • Establish a relationship with your vet BEFORE your pet is sick. Visit the vet early and often, and when your pet is feeling well. Feel free to call to see if staff is available to bring your pet in for attention, treats, or just to get a weight. Positive experiences when they are well will make reduce stress when coming to the vet when they are sick.

We love your pets and want the absolute best for them. We are here to help in any way we can and we want to make your visit go smoothly and with the least amount of stress possible for you and your pet. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help make you visit less stressful. Please call us at 218-444-5797 to schedule an appointment!

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