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Fear Free Starts at Home

At your visit, we will do all we can to help create a paws-itive experience for your pet(s)...but there are also some things that YOU can do, to help us help you!

Here are some simple but helpful things you can do to help your pet build vet visit confidence and comfort: 

Before the Vet Visit
  1. Acclimate to the Carrier: For pets that use a carrier, make it a comfortable and familiar space by leaving it open at home with a favorite blanket or toy inside. Encourage spending relaxed time in it with treats and positive reinforcement.

  2. Practice Car Rides: Take your pet on short, positive car rides that don't end at the vet, like a quick trip around the block or to a favorite park, to reduce car-related anxiety.

  3. Familiarize with Vet Scents: If possible, bring home a blanket or towel from the vet clinic for your pet to investigate and become familiar with the clinic's scents. We can also schedule walk throughs for your dog, to get familiar with the sights, scents, and people associated with our clinic. 

  4. Desensitize to Handling: At home, gently practice handling your pet in ways similar to what they might experience at the vet (e.g., looking in ears, touching paws) to make them more comfortable with being examined.

Day of the Vet Visit
  1. Use Calming Pheromones: Spray the car and carrier with pet-specific calming pheromones 15 minutes before departure. There are species-specific products available for both dogs and cats.

  2. Bring Familiar Items: Take your pet’s favorite toy, blanket, or treats to the vet visit. Familiar smells and comforts can significantly reduce stress.

  3. Stay Calm: Pets can pick up on their owner's emotions, so try to stay calm and positive about the visit.

  4. Wait in the Car: If your pet is particularly anxious in the waiting room, opt to wait in the car and call the clinic to check in. We'll come get you when your room is ready to minimize time in potentially stressful common areas.

  5. Use a Comforting Tone: Speak to your pet in a soft, soothing voice throughout the visit to help keep them calm.

  6. Use your PVPs, if Prescribed: Does your pet need a little extra help getting calm enough for a visit? That's okay! Talk to us about pre-visit pharmaceuticals (PVPs) to help with anxiety and fear.

During the Car Ride
  1. Secure and Comfortable: Ensure your pet is securely placed in the vehicle, using a well-ventilated carrier or pet seatbelt. Place a non-slip mat in the carrier to help them feel stable.

  2. Quiet and Cool Environment: Keep the car quiet (soft music is okay) and at a comfortable temperature.

  3. Avoid Feeding Before Travel: To prevent nausea, avoid feeding your pet for a few hours before the car ride, especially if they are prone to motion sickness.

  4. Short Breaks on Long Trips: If the journey is long, take short breaks to allow your pet to stretch and hydrate.

After the Visit
  1. Post-Visit Treats and Play: After returning home from the vet, offer your pet their favorite treats or engage in a preferred play activity to end the experience on a positive note.

  2. Quiet Time: Give your pet a quiet, comfortable space to relax and decompress after the visit.

While they may take a little extra time (and some planning), it's well worth it to help your pet get comfortable with vet visits. With patience and practice, implementing these strategies can help make vet visits and car rides a more positive experience for pets, reducing their anxiety and stress.

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