Creating Fear Free Experiences for Pets

Some pets can become extremely anxious about going to the vet, and as a result may not receive the care they need. Both cats and dogs alike can be next to impossible to transport due to their anxiety, but we’re hoping to change that here at our animal hospital in Caledon Village. We understand that the smells, sounds, and sights can be overwhelming for your pet, and forcing them to undergo treatment in this state can do more harm than good. Our goal is to develop healthy, trusting relationships with your pet—not frighten them. To aid us in this endeavor, we have taken steps to become a Fear Free Certified practice.

What Makes an Animal Hospital Fear Free?

Fear Free animal hospitals dedicate themselves to making veterinary visits as stress-free as possible for pets and their owners. To properly care for our patients, we want them to feel safe and comfortable. Pets that are agitated or aggressive can cause harm to themselves, their owners, and our staff members. More important, however, is creating positive experiences that help your pet become more relaxed and cooperative while they undergo treatment. This means we implement various practices to design a space that is welcoming and as non-threatening as possible. We utilize gentler handling techniques, keep cats and dogs in separate areas in the waiting room, administer smaller vaccine doses, and much more.

How to Prepare for Your Visit

Has your pet been in to see us before? How did their visit go? Did they experience any anxiety before or during their appointment? What do you think we can do to reduce their anxiety and fear? Every pet is different. Our veterinarians and support team respect the fact that every individual animal will respond to their environment in different ways, which is why we place so much value in implementing Fear Free techniques.

Transporting Your Dog

For dogs, we find that food and/or treats can provide a welcome distraction during treatment. We recommend that your pet arrive hungry so they will be more willing to accept food or treats from us, and have a more pleasant visit overall. Take your pet outside to relieve themselves before their appointment, and avoid rushing around–if your pet has a veterinarian-prescribed medication to promote relaxation, administer it when needed and give your pet time to calm down. Bring along some of their favorite treats, and maybe even a toy or two that they love. Make sure they have a secure carrier or harness to keep them comfortable during the drive.

Fear Free Certified in Caledon Village: Woman kissing dog
Fear Free Certified in Caledon Village: Dog running with stick in its mouth

Transporting Your Cat

Cats can be a little tricky, but there are several steps you can take to make transporting them to our hospital a bit easier. First, you should get your cat accustomed to their carrier. Make sure the carrier is clean, secure, and spacious enough for them to turn around in. To make the carrier more appealing, include a shirt, blanket or towel lightly sprayed with lavender scent or calming pheromones. There are different types of commercial pheromones you can find at your local pet store, and we would be happy to offer recommendations.

You should also give your cat time to relieve themselves before their appointment, and avoid rushing to put them in their carrier. Bring along a favorite toy or object (such as a grooming brush), and some of their favorite treats, too.