Dogs who are Scared of Shots


Our baby dog, Xanh (pronounced Sahn), recently turned a year old, so we took him earlier this week to get his annual vaccines and a 6 month exam.  This was our first time seeing this vet, because we moved here from out of state this past winter.  This was also Xanh’s first time getting shots since last summer when he was still a tiny puppy.  Fortunately/unfortunately for us, the vet is Xanh’s favorite place to go, because when we lived in Alabama, we took him to our friend who’s a veterinarian, so he knew her outside of the vet office as well (and knew her dogs, and I’m sure had their scent on her regularly).  I say fortunately/unfortunately, because I’m glad he isn’t afraid of seeing a vet, but he gets SO excited.  It’s actually quite embarrassing now that we have to see a vet we don’t know personally.  We take Xanh with us everywhere a dog can go, so he’s very well socialized, and we started training him at 8 weeks and he is a GREAT dog.  People compliment us everywhere we go with him…except the vet’s office.  As soon as we walk through the door, he is uncontrollable with excitement.  That was all fine and well 6 months ago (sort of), but now that he’s 80 lbs and still growing, it’s a bit of a problem.  This vet sees pit bulls a lot, so she knew he would be high energy and was okay with it, but it’s still embarrassing for us, because he acted like he had never been trained a day in his life.  Sigh…

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Anyway, all that to say, we had an awful time with him at the vet.  He was so excited that he wouldn’t stop spinning in circles when the vet tech tried to take his temperature and check his eyes for glaucoma, because he wanted to see her face and lick her, etc.  We had to bribe him with treats.  A LOT of treats.  Thank God they were low fat (and I might add that he wasn’t too hungry for dinner that night).  Then, my biggest nightmare happened.  Well, maybe not my biggest nightmare; I mean, it could have been far worse, but I never thought of the fact that last time Xanh had shots he still had saggy puppy skin and baby fat.  He used to never even notice needles going into him.  Well now he does, and he hates them!  He has a bruised arm that he doesn’t want us touching, because when they drew his blood to check for heartworm he jerked his arm away and the needle came out fast and at a bad angle.  Then, the nightmare–he started growling at the vet when she was giving him shots.  He had to have 4–one in each leg.  One vet tech straddled him to hold him still for the shots, and another vet tech tried to distract him with affection and treats, but he was NOT happy.  He didn’t try to bite anyone or anything like that, which is why I say it could have been far worse, but I’ve never seen him respond this way to anything!  I know it was all out of fear, because as soon as each shot was over he turned around and started licking the vet and getting up in her face so she would pet him, but I still hated to see that kind of reaction from him.  I would say thank God it’s over and we made it through ok, but apparently lyme disease is a common problem for dogs in the Midwest but not in the South, so he was never vaccinated for it as a puppy.  That means we go in for 2 more booster shots in 3 weeks.  Lord, help us…

Do you have a dog, and if so, does he/she not like shots?  What do you do to keep your dog calm and relaxed for them?


Author: Amber Vo

Traditionalist Catholic, wife, foodie, animal lover, barren. My blog:

5 thoughts on “Dogs who are Scared of Shots

  1. I have a big muscular Pit. His rear end is so huge he either does not feel the shots or he just does not mind. He loves his Vet and her tech. But he does prefer female doctors – just an idea. I was shocked when he gave a low growl when she lifted his lip to check his teeth. She just said ” Oh be quiet Ca$h” and he was. Afterward he offered her his paw as a contrite apology for his shocking slip up in manners. So we all knew that his growl was not really vicious, it was just the only way he had of voicing his lack of enthusiasm over what was happening. No bite was attempted and he shut up after he was told to. No more drama for the remainder of the visit. I always stay by his head and baby – talk him and over – praise him when he is good. He loves that. The Vet and her (female) assistant feed him low fat treats as well during the process. There is a male vet in the facility and my PB is rather uncomfortable with the man even though he is a gentle soul. So we accommodate Ca$h each visit. I cannot remember you writing how old your guy is, but if he is younger maybe a few more years will iron it all out. 80 pounds! What a chunker! And gorgeous too. I had a horse who did not like shots. When I started giving them to her myself she settled down. Plus the aging process helped her as well. Wish i could suggest more but all of these ideas have led us to stress – free Vet visits. Hope some of it helps out. If you get a chance stop over to my blog which is about my Boy and take a peek at his handsomeness…….best of luck!

    • Your dog is precious! Thanks for sharing your experiences with me. Yes, ours is still quite young. He just turned 12 months (and already 80 lbs, so I’m guessing he’ll be a pretty big boy this time next year). We take Xanh running twice a day plus a walk, and he plays with a flirt pole, tug-of-war, etc. so he builds a lot of muscle. My neighbor always says, “He’s all muscle and mouth!” Haha. The vet told us that’s why the shots bother him so much, because the needle gets more muscle than fat, so he feels it more. He’s still a baby, so I hope you’re right and age will help. He has a female vet and vet techs, though he loves both male and female vets we’ve seen. We’ve never had a problem at the vet until he got his shots this last time. Maybe next time will be better since he’ll be used to it by then. ?? I sure hope so, and if not, then maybe as he gets older it will become easier for him. How old is Ca$h?

      • Well, I adopted him off Death Row in a West Virginia animal shelter exactly one year ago yesterday. So an educated guess is 6 years old. He is an ex – fighter so anything else we feel could be challenging to him is usually a cake – walk considering his life before us.You are so fortunate to have known your Boy since infancy. I envy you that – in a good way! If I had raised Ca$h from a puppy I could have kept him from learning the violent tendencies that he has towards other animals. It is so true that it is the owner and not the breed. But I love him no matter what less desirable characteristics he has and he has returned that love a thousand – fold! I will be keeping up with your blog – always glad to meet fellow Pit Enthusiasts!

      • Thanks! And yes, we are lucky to have had him since he was a puppy. I know so many people with pit bulls who used to be fighting dogs, and they do tend to have dog aggression in them. They can’t really help it, though–they were trained to be that way. Xanh loves other dogs, and we’ve never had an issue in that department. We are truly blessed. I believe all dogs are incredibly therapeutic, but there is just something extra special about a pit bull. 🙂

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