How To Safely Restrain Your Small Dog For His Vaccinations

Annual booster vaccinations are a key part of keeping your dog healthy and safe from dangerous, preventable diseases.  However, not all dogs are comfortable with this procedure and their anxiety can manifest itself as aggressive or unpredictable behaviour when attending the veterinary clinic.  Small breeds of dog can be particuarly feisty and tricky to control when attending the vet for their jabs.

Here are some top tips on how to safely restrain your small dog when you take him to the vet for his vaccinations.

Try to arrive in good time for your appointment, but leave your dog in the car until the vet is ready for you.  This avoids the potential for your dog panicking in the atmosphere of the vet's waiting room.

Controlling fidgets

The best way of controlling a dog that wriggles is to wrap him in a thick blanket or in a towel so that just his head and neck are visible.  Place the dog on a secure surface, wrap your arms around your pet, and hold him against your chest firmly, but without squeezing.  Place your hand against your dog's face so that he can't turn his head towards the vet and cover his eye.  This should allow the vet to slip the needle into the dog's scruff undetected, and the whole procedure will be over and done with before your pet even realises it.

Aggressive dogs

Some small dogs become aggressive when they become anxious or stressed.  There are a couple of ways of dealing with a potential biter.  An Elizabethan collar (lampshade) can be used on small breeds that have very flat faces, such as pugs.  These breeds can suffer from breathing problems when muzzled, which further exacerbates their anxiety.  The collar effectively prevents the dog from turning its head around to within biting range, keeping both vet and owner safe from snapping teeth, whilst allowing the dog's airways to remain clear and open. 

An alternative is to place a muzzle on your dog if it's physiologically suitable.  The best type of muzzle to use is one that's designed for cats.  Cat muzzles are usually made of vinyl and cover the whole of the animal's head, including the eyes.  This means that the dog's mouth is controlled, and it will often remain calm, as it can't see the needle coming.

In conclusion

Annual vaccination time can be a stressful experience for your small dog.  You can make your pet's visit to the vet less stressful by following the tips given above.  For further advice and information on how to manage your dog during his veterinary treatment, ask your vet or vet nurse.