Clinic Stories

Fear Free Veterinary Visits

Last year a concept was bantered about in veterinary circles promoting a “Fear Free Practice”. Since many of our patients are intimidated by vet visits, we were interested in making life better for out patients and their owners. One of the main reasons cats are not brought to the vet is because it is so difficult – they are hard to get in a carrier, they howl in the car, they vomit along the way, they shake in the office and hide when they get home. Dogs are not as bad but can they also can make veterinary visits a dreaded experience.

So we read the suggestions hoping for insights into improving the patient experience. Most were already in place, some were unrealistic and many of the aspects that we have found to be most effective were not mentioned.

Here are some of the things that are done at Animal Care Center reduce Vet Office anxiety.

  1. Have calm, friendly staff members. We try to employ people who are pleasant on the phone and in the office.
  2. Stick to a schedule and get the pet in a room as quickly as possible. Nothing is as important to reducing stress on a pet as reducing the time around other animals in the waiting room. While this is not always possible, when we have a day where we get backed up, we reevaluate our policies and try to keep wait times to a minimum.
  3. Do as much in the room as possible. Many vet offices take the pet out of the room to draw blood or perform procedures that could be done in the room. We have found that this is worrisome to both the pet and owner.
  4. Use anxiety reducing pheromone sprays. We use Adaptyl and Feliway in the office which have been shown to relax dogs and cats.
  5. End on a positive note. Most pets will not accept a treat at the office but they are available and offered when appropriate. You are welcome to take some home with you. There is also candy for our human visitors. And coming back to an empathetic staff, we hope they remember to thank you and express our appreciation for your business.

For cats a separate write up gives suggestions for getting them into a carrier and to the office more smoothly. We are always looking for ways to improve so if you have any suggestions they are welcome.

Back to Top