“Fear Free Veterinary Care” is a movement within the Veterinary community to employ practices within the clinic environment to minimize stress and fear when your pet comes into the clinic for any type of service. Whether you are bringing in a new puppy/kitten or adult pet for a check up, or bringing in your breeding female for progesterone testing on a frequent basis, we strive to achieve the best possible experience for you pet. Since each pet is an individual, there is not one method that works for everyone. Our staff is trained to recognize signs of stress in your pet and approach or restrain them in the most comfortable manner possible. We encourage clients to bring pets in for visits just to say hello to the staff and receive treats. Building a positive association with the clinic and staff helps to minimize the stress sometimes associated with a visit to see the veterinarian. We typically use some key methods in our daily procedures:
- Dr Mary and several of our technicians compete in various dog sports such as Agility, Field Work, Nosework, Obedience, Confirmation and Tracking. We enjoy hearing about your own pets and what they like to do! Starting out with a conversation prior to the exam allows your pet to relax and get used to the environment. We are also proud of our clients and their accomplishments!
- We use Pheromone applications such as Adaptil and Feliway sprays in our exam rooms. These products are species specific pheromones secreted by the mother dog/cat when she nurses her pups or kittens and has a calming effect on the animal. All patients entering the clinic for surgical procedures receive a stuffed animal sprayed with Pheromone to relax them prior to surgery and during recovery.
- A puppy or kitten’s first visit should be a good one! For this reason we try to offer food, toys and gentle handling to ensure your new pet gets to know us in a positive light. Talk to us about puppy classes, socialization opportunities and behavior modification methods. We are happy to get you off on the right road with your new pet.
- We encourage the use of food treats during examination to distract the pet as well as build a more positive association with the procedure such as wellness exams, nails trims, blood draws or vaccinations. If you are coming in with your pet, don’t feed them prior to the visit and bring extra special treats with you if your pet has a favorite!
- Some pets are better with their owners present and some are better if the owner is not, especially if the owner is nervous themselves! We try to gauge which technique to use to make the pet more comfortable and compliant. We will even take blood outside on the lawn during nice weather if the pet is more relaxed in that environment.
- We don’t wear white coats! This “Doctor coat” can be a trigger to some pets. This can start an anxious reaction even before the Doctor begins the exam.
- We have two sides to the waiting area and some pets might find being in an area where they don’t have to sit right next to another pet more comforting.
- We encourage cats owners to spray the carrier with Feliway spray 15 minutes prior to putting the cat in the carrier for their visit. Bring a towel with you and cover the carrier when you come in so the cat isn’t aroused by looking at unfamiliar animals in our waiting area. We do request that all cats come to us in a carrier of some kind for their safety and comfort.