Tomorrow Rufus gets his first vet visit since he got fixed a year ago. I know, I know, I should be taking him to the vet regularly just to say hi and get treats so he doesn’t hate them, but they’re only open when I’m at work so that doesn’t happen.

His last trip to the vet was unpleasant and I learned if I’m not around he gets “cage aggression” so I had to muzzle him then stand by helplessly as they held him still and sedated him. Once they left the room I removed the muzzle and waited for him to take a nap. He woke up in a cage with ouchy boy bits surrounded by strange sniffs and sounds with me nowhere in sight. Of course once I arrived he was happy and wanted to say hello and get treats from the staff. Still, I know he didn’t enjoy the experience. Luckily our vet recently moved to a brand new building so hopefully the association will be minimal at first.

I have so many questions going into this appointment, and I’m worried the staff will judge me. I know his nails are a little long. They’re black so I don’t feel comfortable trimming them, but I do give him plenty of walks to keep them worn down. I think he might be overweight. I’m not sure though, I can’t feel his ribs but he has real thick fluff that could be hiding them. His muttage also makes it difficult to tell. He’s on a good food, and I make sure to give him smaller meals when he’s gotten extra treats, but still I worry. Large dogs already have shorter lifespans and are more prone to joint issues than smaller pets and I want him to live the longest healthiest life possible.

I also don’t know if they’re going to want me to muzzle him this time. If they don’t I want them to look at his teeth. I think they look okay and I give him plenty to chew on, but all my attempts at brushing his teeth just result in him licking the puppypaste off my finger. If they do want me to muzzle him I understand, he’s a big dog and he’s scared them in the past. A scared vet makes mistakes. A scared vet could even accidentally miss-handle and hurt Rufus or themselves. I don’t see why people get insulted when asked to muzzle their little hellions, it makes is a safer experience for everyone.

If he behaves (oh heck who am I kidding, even if he doesn’t) I’m rewarding him with a trip to PetSmart to pick out toys and treats afterwards. Wish him luck!

8 thoughts on “Rufus’ Upcoming Checkup

  1. I would suggest that you write down all your questions and concerns and get some answers, otherwise you may well be paying dearly in the future. Ray also has black nails and they are awkward, and he is also sensitive to nail clippers… so we grind his nails. His teeth are cleaned frequently with a regular toothbrush and chicken flavored toothpaste. He had a lot of emotional/aggression issues when we got him, and had to make a number of “happy visits” to the vets for him to be relatively relaxed when he had to go for treatment etc. If it is not practical during the day, then it could be an evening. It is really important that you do not put off addressing these issues otherwise they could develop into serious behavioral problems later.

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    1. How did you get him to let you brush? Rufus loves the peanut-butter flavored toothpaste, but he just chases my finger with his tongue (I’d have even less control w/a toothbrush, I have tried the finger slip on brushes.)
      Writing down my questions is a good idea. I don’t want to forget anything. Also, I’ve been reading you book and Ray’s prospective of the vet visits were informative and amusing. The only thing I don’t think I can work on is how he behaved in the kennel since he doesn’t display the behavior when I’m around.

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      1. How did you get him to let you brush? – Get him used to licking something good off your finger – Progress to putting your “flavored” finger on a tooth – Progress to brushing his teeth with a flavored finger – Progress to letting him lick a “flavored” toothbrush – Progress to touching his teeth with the “flavored” toothbrush – Progress to scrubbing his teeth with the “flavored” toothbrush. Take it one small step at a time and be patient. Do not move forward until he is comfortable with whatever stage you are at.
        The only thing I don’t think I can work on is how he behaved in the kennel since he doesn’t display the behavior when I’m around. – It sounds like he is very attached to you (= possible Separation anxiety). You may need to get some professional guidance on that one.

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          1. Absolutely! He’s getting what he wants, and is getting used to your finger being presented to him. The next step is to just touch a tooth, and get him used to that. 🙂

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        1. See that’s what I thought at first too. But he’s fine alone. He was even okay in the kennel at first but postured agressively when they went to let him out. So I think he was just scared and they played it safe. It’s a hard senario to recreate.

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          1. He may be fine alone on his territory, but nervous when on strange territory? He may feel very secure in a crate (in strange territory), but then has anxiety issues when taken out? i.e. the crate may be his security. If the latter, then the staff should be rewarding him/coaxing him out with good treats! He must learn that it’s okay being out with these people! They could mean treats!

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