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Study shows how high your dog's heart rate gets at the vet and it's heartbreaking

labrador being examined by vet dog-wow © SeventyFour - Shutterstock

No-one loves going to the doctor. But animals are especially frightened, since they have no clue what’s going on.

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the , Updated on the

A recent study from the University of Adelaide has shown exactly what happens to dogs on a physiological level when they go to the vets.

A stressful experience

30 dogs of various breeds and ages were hooked up to heart monitors before going to the vet clinic. In the waiting room, the average heart rate was 97 beats per minute. In the examination room, the average heart rate almost doubled, peaking at 180 beats per minute. One Greyhound even reached 230 beats per minute!

The accelerated heart rate was often coupled with fearful body language, including tucking of the tail, and holding the ears back.

It was found that the most stressful parts of the examination were the start, when the vet palpated the dogs, and finish, when the vet simulated a vaccination.

How to help your dog at the vets

This study shows us that in most cases, visiting the vet can be a truly stressful experience for our pets. It’s our job to make sure that they go through it as peacefully as possible!

Try taking your pet to the vet even when they don’t need an examination, and ask staff to welcome them with treats and cuddles. Associating positive emotions with vet visits will help your pet to stay calm. In addition, try to always see the same vet. Your dog can build a relationship of trust with this person, which will make them more at ease going forward. You can also call your vet clinic in advance and ask whether there’s a quiet time that you can visit them.

All in all, be supportive of your pet! If this study teaches us anything, it’s that they need us at the vet’s more than anywhere else!

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