WHAT CAN OWNERS DO TO REDUCE STRESS?
Your pets pick up on your own stress level during their visits. Part of being a Fear Free certified practice, we encourage owners to be knowledgeful of their pets own anxiety and stress signs. With this information, not only can owners then determine if their pet is stressed at home, but to also help determine if your pet is becoming stressed during a visit with us. Learning about body language in our pets is one way that we can help, but also being low stress ourselves can help too! Surprisingly enough, what we feel during our pet’s veterinary visit can help either reduce or increase stress or anxiety. Thus, if you are not stressed, your pet will pick up on your emotions and become more comfortable during a visit.
WHAT SHOULD OWNERS NOT DO?
While waiting in an exam room, comforting your dog or cat with hugs or to force them out of their carriers can be very stressful for the pets. It’s best to speak soothingly to your pet while letting them explore at their own pace. Positive reinforcement between the pet and the owner is a great way for them to gain confidence that their veterinary visit will be positive. Reinforce positive behavior with treats or gentle petting if your pet chooses to come out of hiding or out of their carrier. Avoid sounds like ‘shh’ or verbal reprimands as this increases anxiety.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY PET IS HOSPITALIZED?
We always encourage owners to bring their dog or cat’s favorite blanket, toy, or treat with any visit to our clinic. If your pet is having a surgery or is being hospitalized for a period of time, this is when the blanket, bed, or an article of clothing from the owner will bring your pet comfort. We try our best to keep our pets as comfortable as possible, but of course any time the pet is away from their owner it can be stressful.
USE US AS A RESOURCE!
If you’re noticing any behavioral changes at home, use us as a resource! With consultations and examinations of your pet, we can decipher what could be causing a change in behavior or an increase in anxiety at home. Even during a veterinary visit, if you’re noticing some changes in your pet, do not hesitate to let us know. We can help with reducing anxiety at home, the trip to the veterinary hospital, the visit itself, and the return home.