How Do We Practice Fear Free Medicine?
As one of our many New Year’s resolutions here at Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, we have decided to follow-through and stick with the practice being more ‘Fear Free’ to our furry, four-legged friends! (If that’s not a mouthful! 😉 ) Visit Fear Free Pets for more information on how we practice fear free medicine.
Vet visits can be scary. So can car rides, carriers, new pets and visitors! Whether you have a canine or feline fur kid at home, we have ideas to help make almost everything they may fear easier for them and for you! With our resolution to practice being more ‘Fear Free’, here are some tips and suggestions to help make not only veterinary visits but also your home more ‘Fear Free’ too:
Practice At Home
1.Never underestimate the power of pheromones! There are canine, (DAP or dog appeasing pheromone: similar to the pheromone given off by nursing mothers); AND feline (Feliway, which is similar to the cheek-rubbing pheromone given off by cats when they rub their cheeks on things, to mark it as something they recognize & have deemed ‘safe’); specific pheromones to help decrease stress and anxiety. They come in multiple different forms to be used for different circumstances and time periods.
- The spray can be used to apply to bedding, inside carriers or even to your clothing. It’s best to apply it shortly before use and is good for 4-6 hours. DO NOT use the spray directly on or around the animal and give it a few minutes after application.
- Diffusers plug into wall outlets and let out a steady stream of pheromone. They can be used in boarding situations, introduction of new pets & visitors or during any stressful event. Diffuser refills are good for ~30 days.
- Feliway also comes in wipes, which are best used for wiping the inside of carriers or other surfaces such as the exam room table at the vet or the grooming table.
- DAP also comes in a collar form to act as a constant calming apparatus for dogs on the go!
2.Car rides: Sometimes they are a necessary evil, as not all our fur babies enjoy going for rides! Here’s some tips to help make car travel easier:
- Ensure carriers are secure-either seat-belt them in or wedge behind the front seats to prevent them from sliding around during travel.
- Seat-belt in dogs that are too big for carriers. It’s never safe to drive with an unsecured pet in the car. Not only can it be fearful for them, it can be very unsafe if they were to get by the pedals or even thrown from the car in an accident!
- Make sure to drive responsibly-take it easy around corners, over bumps, starting & stopping.
- Play soft, calming music like classical. Avoid loud, heavy music.
- And don’t forget the power of positive pheromones! Spritzing the car or carrier beforehand can help!
Practice At The Vet Clinic
As a Fear-Free hospital, we take extra steps to make every visit as stress and fear-free as possible for not only your fur kids, but also yourself and our staff. Some things we do differently to achieve this are:
- Offering lots of treats & other high-value snacks during the visit & any needed procedures.
- Using spray and diffused pheromones in exam rooms, on towels, in kennels & ourselves.
- We may dispense a sedative or anti-anxiety medication & reschedule appointments for extra-fearful and anxious pets.
- We may do some minor procedures such as blood draws in the exam room to decrease the stress and anxiety of visiting the treatment area.
- We also have a punch-card program for happy visits! Come see us 10 times and get a prize! If your furry kiddo isn’t a fan of coming to see us, ask us about happy visits! These are scheduled with a team member and help us work towards a set goal, such as getting used to nail trims or lower stress handling during needed medical visits. We don’t do anything forced or scary but simply offer lots of treats, take a little tour of the hospital and gets lots of positive attention from our staff. This helps to create a more positive experience & will hopefully decrease stress & anxiety when visiting us during needed appointments and procedures.
As always, contact Gentle Touch Animal Hospital with any questions. email@example.com or 303.691.3720
Why fear free medicine? A study that came out in 2014 reported 37% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners stated that their pet “hates going to the vet”. Veterinary-care-usage-study
Those numbers are astonishing! Can you imagine how many pets are missing out on their preventive care visits and may develop serious diseases down the road because of it? At Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, we decided that practicing fear free medicine was a must. gentletouchanimalhospital/fearfreecertification
What exactly is fear free medicine?
¨ Fear free medicine is a style of practice that promotes stress free visits for the pet. Our entire staff was trained over a 5 month period to learn how to handle the pets in a stress free manner. This means no, or very little restraint and taking as much time as needed to calm the pet. Most animal hospitals schedule appointments every 15-20 minutes. We schedule them every 30 minutes to allow for us to take our time and relax your pet before performing anything that makes him nervous. That could mean that we need to spend 20 minutes calming your pet before a 5 minute nail trim, which is fine with us!
¨ We are highly trained in counter conditioning, which means distracting your pet with treats so that she does not associate any treatment as traumatic. She will remember that she will receive lots of treats when she comes in and be excited to visit us, not worried that we are the place that “pokes” her.
¨ What is the difference? Each room has species specific pheromones (they send off a scent that is scientifically proven to relax your pet), species specific music boxes that play music that is calming to your pet as well as loads of treats. We have skid free mats on the exam tables and if your pet is still nervous on the table, the doctor will get on the floor with her.
¨ We will always remember what works best for your pet for future visits as we put notes in every chart, front and center. For example, some cats do not respond to treats, however, if we put baby food on a spoon and offer that to them, they lap it up and do not pay attention to what we are doing. This will be noted in their chart and we will have baby food ready to go at the next visit.
Your pets are family. Get them the care they deserve.Request Appointment