Creating a fear free clinic

posted: by: Franklin Falls Animal Clinic Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Most pet owners are aware that pets that receive good quality veterinary care tend to live longer and more healthy lives. For many people, the worst part about bring their dog or cat to the vet is watching as their pet undergoes a terrifying ordeal. Using many tips provided by world famous Dr. Marty Becker, we hope to create a more calm environments for pets to feel safe while they are here for their veterinary care. You will likely notice many of the changes that are taking place here such as soft yoga mats to give traction on the exam tables, pheromones in the exam rooms, and specialized music designed to calm your pet. 

In order to have your pet arrive at the clinic feeling calm and self confident, we need your help! There are a few things we need you to do before you arrive. 
  • If your pet uses a carrier to move from home to the veterinary office, get the carrier out of the garage or closet a few days before your scheduled visit. Place high value, tasty snacks in and around the carrier and sprinkle with catnip if you use the carrier for a cat. Encourage your pet to explore the new "furniture", but do not force them into it. 
  • Using Adaptil or Feliway spray, spritz a towel or carpet with pheromones to create a comforting "magic carpet". This towel can remain with the pet during his or her exam as a sort of security blanket filled with good smells. 
  • Try not to create drama leading up to the vet visit. This can be a tricky one because we want to so badly to try to comfort our pets when we feel that they might be anxious. The problem is that our pets do not understand our words (though we really want them too!). What a pet hears is your voice, usually in a high pitched voice, speaking to them more than usual, sometimes very quickly. This leads to confusion and thus, anxiety. We encourage you not to try to discuss their upcoming visit to the vet, especially in the car on the way here. 
  • Prepare your vehicle by spritzing with Adaptil or Feliway pheromone sprays. Play species specific music designed to calm your pet and reduce anxiety. If the pet rides in a carrier, use a rolled up towel to ensure that the carrier is level on the car seat. An old towel can also be used to cover the carrier to decrease visual stimuli. 
  • If your appointment is scheduled in the morning, try not to feed your pet after 10:00pm the night before. If you have an afternoon appointment, try to feed only a light breakfast in the morning. This way your pet arrives hungry and ready to respond to food rewards. 
  • For some pets, Thundershirts can be very effective in reducing anxiety. Their website outlines their guarantee to make it a very low risk option to try out. 
  • When you arrive at the veterinary clinic, don't necessarily follow the same rut of getting your pet out of the car, visiting the grass, and checking in to wait in the reception area. If you would like to call us from your car when you arrive, we would be happy to alert you when we have your exam room ready. For some pets, waiting in the car can be less stressful than waiting in the reception area, where there may be other pets and lots of activity. If you choose this option, remember that we do not want to try to comfort our pets using sweet voices. It would be better to wait quietly in the car or with specialized music playing. 
  • For some pets, we may discuss using medication before leaving home each time they come to the clinic. This can help to reduce the level of panic he or she may be feeling so that they can get to a mental state where they can learn that we are not intending to hurt them.