Why it Matters
Fear Free is an important movement within the veterinary industry. We believe it is the future standard of veterinary care. The idea behind Fear Free is that it is vitally important to reduce stress levels of pets during their visits to the veterinarian. In large part, this is because heightened stress levels impact a pet's physiological systems. These same systems (heart rate, temperature, blood pressure) are integral in assessing a pet's overall health. Stress makes it difficult to know whether a pet is sick or healthy. We are proud of our team's certification, because we believe your pet deserves truly the best care there
Call ahead of time to confirm what will be done at the appointment, especially if there is any vaccines or procedures that might be out of the ordinary for your pet.
Do A Practice Run
The Veterinarian will be touching your pet in areas you normally don’t… his eyes, ears, legs, and just about every part of his body. When you and your pet are relaxed, try running your hands over his body from head to toe, lifting each limb as the vet will do when palpating his joints. Peel back his lips to expose his teeth and open his mouth wide to reveal his throat. Lift up his ear flaps and peak inside or swab gently with a Q-tip. The more you attempt to do these things casually, the less terrifying it will be for your pooch come exam day.
Practice Basic Commands
To make the trip to the vet easier, try working with your pet on the basic commands such as sit, stay, and down. This will greatly help when the Vet is examining your pet.
Visit The OfficeFor Fun Visits
Dogs are learning all the time. Scents, faces, surfaces, and stimuli all contribute to how they absorb information. And if what they learn is that the vet’s office is bright, cold, and that they get manhandled whenever they step a paw in the door, it’s no wonder they’ll act out at every visit! That’s why we recommend scheduling visits to the vet in between examinations so that your pet sees the place as familiar, fun, and fear free.
If the drive to the office reduces your pup to a drooling, shaking, and a bundle of nerves, consider using a natural pheremone spray. Adaptil is a product with Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP) that mimic the hormone released by whelping mothers to sooth their puppies. We have found that these sprays, collars and diffusers can help quite well during stressful times.
One simple way to minimize your dog’s stress is to walk him around outside or keep him in the car until the technician is ready to bring you into the exam room. This allows you to spare your pooch the sights, smells, and sounds of the waiting room. Ask the receptionist to call your cell phone or wave you in when it’s time to go back. Dogs that behave aggressively at the vet should definitely avoid the waiting room.
Book Your Appointment At Less Busy Times
Often, the best time to book an appointment for your pet is at the less busy times to avoid long waits. These times are usually first thing in the morning, right before or after lunch, and at the end of the day. When booking an appointment, tell the receptionist that your pet needs a FAS Visit (Fear Anxiety, Stress) and she will book you at one of these times.
Two Familiar Faces are better than one! Help create a safe environment for your pooch by bringing people he knows and loves.
By skipping a meal before your pet’s appointment, he will be more inclined to taking treats at his appointment which helps the Vet perform vaccines when your pet is distracted. Skipping a meal also helps anti-anxiety meds work better if those are given before the appointment.
Bring your pet’s favorite Things
Why not help your pet feel right at home by bringing a few of his favorite things!
Everyone Stay Calm!!
As you struggle to comfort your pet, your own anxiety levels may skyrocket. Your dog is extremely intuitive. If he senses that you are stressed or nervous, he will likely feel that way, too.
Say Yes To Anti-Anxiety Meds
There is nothing wrong with admitting that your dog needs help. Anxiety is a medical condition just like any other, and your pup deserves relief. If all else fails, set up a consultation with your vet to discuss the issue. He or she may recommend any number of medications to help relieve the symptoms. There are low-dose meds that can be taken daily for dogs who suffer from fear and anxiety in multiple situations. Pups whose fear only surfaces at the vet may just need a dose prior to their appointment to help ease their symptoms.
For more information on Fear Free, please visit www.fearfreehappyhomes.com.