At Whitesburg Animal Hospital, providing the highest standard of care is our number one priority. We constantly strive to better serve you and your pet, which is why a majority of our staff is now Fear Free certified. Fear Free is a multi-modal approach to veterinary care that encompasses your pet’s emotional and physical well being. We have made many changes around the hospital, but there are things you can do as well to help us make your pet’s next veterinary visit an enjoyable experience. Here just a few things you can do for your next visit:
Acclimate Your Cat to the Carrier
If you keep your cat carrier in the garage or attic and only take it out once or twice a year when your cat needs to go to the vet, you will most likely start the visit off with a lot of stress and anxiety. A better approach is to leave the carrier out year round – make this a safe spot for your kitty! Placing some food or treats in or near the carrier will help your cat associate it with good things, making it that much easier (and less stressful) when it comes time for a vet visit.
Skip a Meal
If medically appropriate, try not to feed your pet before the exam. One of the main ways that we reduce anxiety and stress during the exam is through the liberal use of food treats. In this way, your pet is focused on the positive experience of eating something yummy, not on the uncomfortable sensations that can sometimes accompany a trip to the vet. Please be aware that we do use peanut butter as a treat quite frequently at our hospital. Notify us immediately if you or your pet have a food allergy so that we can accommodate your needs.
Bring Favorite Treats or Toys From Home
Consider bringing your pet’s favorite treats or toys along for the visit. In an unfamiliar place, items from home will bring your pet a sense of security and comfort. In addition, they can also serve as a distraction from unpleasant sensations and a reward for good behavior, all of which will help reduce stress and anxiety.
Give Pheromones a Try
We have seen great success with the synthetic pheromones Feliway (for cats) and Adaptil (for dogs). These products mimic the natural pheromones produced by your pet to create a sense of security. It may be helpful to use these products before the vet visit to reduce anxiety and stress in your pet.
Call From the Parking Lot
We know that the reception area can be a very stressful place for both you and your pet. If your pet experiences a lot of anxiety from being in the waiting room, don’t be afraid to give us a call when you arrive. We will arrange to bring you straight to the exam room from your vehicle.
Stay tuned as we share more about what it means to be Fear Free and what we are doing to reduce fear, anxiety and stress in the veterinary hospital.