We are now certified as a Fear Free Practice. This means that we incorporate practices to avoid and alleviate stress before and during your pet's visit. In our office, we play soothing music especially designed to relax dogs and cats. We have non-skid surfaces on our exam table and scales. Even better, we shovel goodies and treats into our patients so that they will, hopefully, look at their visits as a time to get spoiled.
There are things you can do before coming in which will help us. First, don't feed your pet that day, as it will make our treats all the more attractive. Second, tell us when you set up your appointment if there is a treat that your pet prefers, as well as any concerns your might have from visits to us or others which may have stressed your pet. We are trying to counter-condition our patients to overcome uncomfortable experiences in the past and replace them will good experiences. Lastly, if your pet in anxious, let us know and we will give you, at no charge, a mild sedative to give the night before and one hour before coming in to see us. It is easier to avoid stress than to treat it.
Cats require special considerations. Please put their carriers out in your house as far in advance as possible. If the carrier is out for a week or more, with treats placed into it, your cat will view it as a shelter and not associate it with stressful occurrences. When you arrive, we may place a pheromone-infused cotton ball in your carrier to further soothe your kitty.
Fear Free Practice is, to me, one of the most exciting changes that I've seen in my career. Stress leads to pain, pain leads to stress. By decreasing stress, it makes the visit and the procedures more pleasant and less painful. My patients are happier and we are happier. What could be better?