We are constantly striving to become a better hospital for our patients and clients. Our clinic’s next goal is to become a Fear Free practice. What does a fear free practice mean? We wish to implement changes in creating a positive, fear free practice for cats and dogs travel, treatment, and experience.
Here are some tips to help eliminate stress in preparation for your trip to the vet:
Feed a slightly smaller breakfast if your pet has a morning appointment. We in no way want you to limit your pet to the nutrition they need, but if your pet is treat motivated, coming with an appetite will help rewards good behavior.
Introduce cat carriers or leash used to transport pet prior to appointment. This can be as many days as you think necessary before the trip, but the longer the object is out, the more the pet becomes accustomed to it. Feeding cats in the carrier create a positive association. Carriers that have a removeable top make transportation easier.
Start heating or cooling your car before leaving. Depending on the weather or time of year, adjust your car’s climate so your pet’s body temperature remains at a steady state. It can be stressful to have a dramatic change.
Introduce veterinary products. Feliway sprays and Adaptil collars are both calming products that help reduce anxiety for pets. Using a Thundershirt can also help your dog and cat feel comforted and safe. Sedatives can also be prescribed prior to an appointment
Help veterinary staff and doctors with techniques to keep your pet calm. Does your pet prefer chin or booty scratches? Are they treat motivated? Do they have a favorite toy or blanket? If so bring it with!
These are just a couple tips that we hope are helpful to you and your pet, as getting to the vet can be a stressful process. We are making many changes in our hospital to make the experience as rewarding as possible, this will create a positive association with our visits. We have each exam room, reception and our treatment area stocked with a variety of treats (Greenies, Fiber Formula Cat Treats, squeeze cheese, peanut butter, marshmallows, etc). With treats, we can either distract from the poke of a vaccination needle or reward a pet staying still for nail trims. Using towels to gently restrain a cat or dog can help them feel safe, sometimes draping the towel over their head will give a sense of security as well. Eliminating loud noises and going slow creates an amazing difference in a pet’s compliance and attitude, and as a hospital we LOVE that! We are constantly trying to look after the pet’s emotional and physical well-being.
We will continue to learn and educate throughout the year in hopes of implementing this idea of a fear free practice.
For more information on Fear Free, visit DVM360’s website.