Fear Free Visit
Have you visited the All Creatures Veterinary Clinic recently with your cat or dog and noticed the bright yellow fleece blankets sprayed with Feliway for the cat patients, or the increased number of treats the staff has been feeding to both cats and dogs?
We are trying to implement changes that will help to decrease the fear and anxiety that some pets experience when traveling in a pet carrier, riding in the car or may experience at the animal clinic. As an entire team, we are trying to become certified as a Fear Free veterinary clinic. This involves many hours of online continuing education for every staff member, in order to reach this certification. What YOU may see, are the ways we are trying right now, to make a vet visit be less stressful for both you and your furry baby.
At home, before the car ride- we would like your cat or dog to NOT eat a big meal. If they come to the clinic hungry, they will be more likely to accept treats (we have a huge variety!), which decreases their anxiety while their nails are being trimmed, or ears cleaned. Pets that can can be distracted with food or toys will have a better veterinary experience. Some small dogs and cats that ride in carriers feel a sense of security, because their carrier- is in their safe place, but others are fearful of the a strange looking, strange smelling cold plastic box, that makes them slip and slide inside it when it is being carried.
We would like to suggest that especially for cats, to leave the carrier in a prominent place, maybe in the sunshine near a window, and allow the cat to get used to it for a couple of weeks before the actual car ride and vet appt. They can be fed treats on top or inside the carrier, and mark the carrier as their own safe place with their own cheek scent gland. A synthetic cat pheromone called Feliway, can be sprayed in the car and inside the carrier to help decrease a cat’s anxiety about being in a strange place. Having a big fluffy blanket that the cat can snuggle into and hide in, can make the inside of the carrier more appealing. Carrying a pet carrier from the bottom, instead of the handle, makes any small pet (small dog, cat, rabbit or bird) feel more secure.
Some people may have noticed that as we try to be more attuned to a pet’s stress levels- we may actually suggest postponing a portion of the visit (saving the nail trim for another day) and then having an anti-anxiety medication be given at home an hour before the car ride to the clinic for the re-scheduled visit. If a pet is hurt and really painful, or needs to have a stressful or potentially painful procedure (ear cleaning when there is a bad ear infection)or x-rays, your doctor may suggest that your pet stays as a drop off, so it can be given a sedative at the clinic.
Our tasty treats now include peanut butter, fish, and bacon bits to name a few. So be sure to let us know if there is any kind of food allergy that we need to avoid, whether your pet , or for the pet parent & family.