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
Pet Cold Weather Tips
Yes, our four-legged furry members do have a fur coat (most of them), but this is not always the only thing they need when the temperature dips. They can be hearty but there are potentially dangerous hazards every pet parent must be aware of. The following are some pet cold weather tips:
- Make sure they are wearing a collar with clearly marked tags and that the microchip is in place and all information associated with it is current.
- Double check that your fence is secure. You also want to make sure you have a strong gate latch, as these are the first to blow open in a gusty storm.
- Be ready for anything, including power outages, blocked roads and closed stores/vet offices. Never let your supply of food and medications get lower than a weeks’ worth.
- Pet proof your interior spaces. Watch for open flames, space heaters and other winter objects that can be a hazard.
- Better yet, bring ‘em in. Cold weather can exacerbate medical conditions such as arthritis and asthma. Visit AVMA.org for more information.
- Keep them on a leash at all times. Paws.org states that more pets are lost in the winter than any other time. They can lose scent trails and/or become disoriented in harsh weather.
- Stay off any ice. Pets will fall through and you will go in after them. It is not safe for either of you.
- Shorter haired pets need a coat. You might also consider one for your senior pet. They have a harder time regulating their temperature.
- Protect their paws and rinse them as soon as you get home. Salt is toxic and they will lick it off of their paws. Make sure all snow that has accumulated between their pads is rinsed off with warm water.
- Cats are known to hide under cars during the cold months. Bang on your hood and look under your car before starting the engine.
- Antifreeze is used in abundance this time of year and pets are attracted to its’ sweet taste. Even a tiny amount can be lethal to your furry family member. Wipe up any spills and keep containers stored where it is not accessible.
- Just as in summer months, never leave a pet alone in the car. It just is not safe!
As in any medical emergency, make sure you call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet is suffering from hypothermia or toxic poisonings. The signs to look for are:
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
- Extreme thirst
- Dilated pupils
- Weak pulse
- Extreme shivering or slowed movement
This list is not all inclusive, so use your best judgement. As always, contact Gentle Touch Animal Hospital with any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.691.3720. Visit gentletouchanimalhospital.com for more information on us.
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