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
- 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!
- 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.