Fear Free Visits

Visiting the vet can be stressful for our pets. Here are some ways to help minimize fear and stress and make it a more positive experience.

At Home

Helping your pet feel more relaxed at the vet can begin before you even leave the house.

You can start by keeping some things stocked: products such as calming treats and pheromone sprays can be used ahead of time to put them in a relaxed state before heading out. Pheromone sprays can be applied to collars, bandanas, carriers, blankets, cars or even on yourself!

For dogs, make sure they are hungry! An empty tummy can help them be more responsive to the biggest helper at your disposal – tasty treats! Stock up on high-value treats that you bring out for these stressful occasions. The stinkier the better – dogs use their noses as their primary source of information and sniffing something delicious can help their brain make positive associations.

For cats, keeping the carrier out and making it a safe and cozy place can make it much less stressful when they need to be transported. Using the pheromone sprays and even feeding them in the carrier can help avoid the dreaded “catch-me-if-you-can” game when it’s appointment time. High-value treats, like Churu tube treats, can also be very helpful in building these positive associations!

Covering the carrier with a blanket or towel can help cats feel safe, secure and limit sensory input. Many cats are not used to car rides and trips outside the home, so removing some of the overwhelming sights and smells can help them stay calm.

At the Appointment

We do our best to avoid long wait times but sometimes, unfortunately, it’s unavoidable. Some animals may prefer to wait in the car prior to an appointment, especially if they are reactive to other animals or have especially bad associations with the clinic. Feel free to advocate for your pet! We will work with you to make them as comfortable as possible!

Arrive early! Rushing a hesitant or nervous animal doesn’t allow them time to process and investigate the environment. This can result in an overstimulated pet and make them much more fearful and reactive. Letting them sniff and explore at their pace and rewarding them for their bravery can really help them for future visits. This is especially true for new puppies, kittens and rescues who are processing a new experience.

Keep your dogs on leash and cats in carriers! This was help avoid any unwanted interactions between other animals and people. If you do want your pet to say “hello”, it is best to ask first before allowing them to rush up to the other pet/person. Keeping a loose leash and closely monitoring the interaction will allow you to see any body language changes that may indicate your pet is uncomfortable.

And most importantly, be cool! Our pets take their cues from us, and being overly stressed or frustrated can impact their emotional state.

After the Appointment

Let them decompress – they did a stressful thing! This may mean they need some quiet alone time, or a run on the beach to release some built-up, anxious energy.

Come by and visit! Dogs will likely benefit from random visits where they can come by and say “Hi!” with no expectations. Let us pet them, treat them, and send them on their way. Make us a stop on your nightly walk!

Lastly, despite all the efforts, some animals are just too overwhelmed by vet visits. Don’t hesitate to ask your Veterinarian about anxiety medications that can help your pet have a fear-free visit!

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