Overcoming Fear at the Vet


scared-dogFear-free experiences for the pets. That’s what we want when they come to the veterinary clinic. We are in this profession because we have compassion and empathy for pets, so we want them to be happy when they see us. The hard part is that some pets will have stress and anxiety when they come the veterinary hospital. We are constantly trying to be mindful of their comfort and look at ways to make it a good experience for them.




One simple thing that we’ve instituted recently is that we’ve put rubber mats on the exam tables. We are trying them out and so far they seem to be helpful. Instead of being on the cold, slippery stainless steel counter tops – pets enjoy something warmer and more secure.


Another thing that we do with cats, is to leave them in the carrier and dismantle the top cat under bedhalf of the carrier. This doesn’t work with some carriers, but in many cases we can use this technique and the cats are much happier because they can stay cuddled within their own blankets while we examine them.



Our approach in general is to try and ACCOMODATE THE PET and keep them comfortable. Sometimes we have to hold them firmly with a big hug, but when possible we will simply use a “less is more” technique in which we move with them. Occasionally things become too stressful and sedation is the best option. We do our best to “read” the pet and see what is going to work best for them.

cattailspeakFearful dog behavior





We have done a couple small remodel projects and created parts of the clinic that are quieter. This gives us the option to separate quite pets from noisy pets. Currently we are remodeling our treatment area so that we can spread out better and the pets won’t feel crowded. More than anything, we want to avoid a situation where the pet is badly scared and may bite someone.


In an ideal world we’d have it always be calm and smell really good here, the reality is that some pets are noisy and smelly. We shift pets around and in some cases we will give anti-anxiety medication. We are constantly cleaning to control smells and keep things sanitary.

For some cats or dogs, it is worth giving anti-anxiety medication before they come to the clinic. We don’t want to over medicate them and we can’t do this if they are sick, but it can be very helpful for some pets. So, ask us about dispensing some calming medication before they come in. The “caveat” with that idea is that we have to have seen the pet within the year to be able to dispense any medications.  Ideally we want every person and every pet to be happy and relaxed.

dog cat                           6390794_f260

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.