It’s a familiar routine for veterinarians. Like humans, most pets dread going to the doctor’s office. They hide under the chair in the exam room, pull back on the leash, tremble, shake or bark and whine. Given the right circumstances, over time some of these pets may start to wrestle and thrash at the clinic. This can culminate in biting behavior when we try to examine your pet. You might even decide it is easier to stay home then take your pet in for their regular, annual check-ups. In the end everyone loses. The pet owner becomes frustrated, the pet may have health issues that remain unaddressed, and the veterinarian loses track of their patient.
The good news is…it doesn’t always have to be this way. A growing movement called “Fear Free” is taking root in the veterinary industry. Simply put, this movement is solely focused on creating an environment that reduces stress and fear for pets (and their owners) in the veterinary clinic setting.
The Fear Free initiative helps veterinary practices like ours help your pet! We identify triggers that cause anxiety and try to eliminate them. Examples include:
- Shorter wait times in the waiting room around other loud pets
- Unique and varying food rewards
- Bright lights and loud noises are reduced
- Calming scents and pheromones are employed
- Aggressive “manhandling” of patients is replaced with calming medical therapy
- If a patient has hit a “boiling point” and no longer tolerates handling or treatment, then treatment stops and resumed another day
Of all the techniques a fear free team may use none may be more powerful than calming drugs used for nervous pets. Used properly, they can prevent the wind-up seen in anxious or fearful cats and dog, providing you and your pet a more relaxed visit and allow your veterinary team an opportunity to perform a more thorough examination. A WIN – WIN!
IF these fear free principles sound like something you would like to know more about, contact us today or visit www.fearfreepets.com for more information.
These blog comments, although based in scientific research, reflect our professional opinions only and are accurate and true to the best of our knowledge. They are for informational purposes and do not constitute treatment advice, nor should it take the place of seeking medical attention and a diagnosis from a trained professional. We reserve the right to change these blog comments if/as new research emerges.