The numbers confirm what we intuitively know, pets dislike going to the veterinarian. According to the American Animal Hospital Association-American Veterinary Medical Association (AAHAAVMA) White Paper-Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Studies 2010-2014:
“There has been a 13% increase in the number of pet owners who state, “their pets’ dislike going to the veterinarian.” This number is up from 53% in 2010 to 59% in 2014. And pet owners tell us “just thinking about taking my pet to the veterinarian is stressful.” This has increased by 27% from 2010 to 2014.”
A yearly visit to your family vet is as essential as food, water and love. Yet, we notice lots of folks wait more than a year for their yearly visits. Why? Our guess is this has something to do with an increased level of stress around your pet’s health visit. If this is the case, we encourage you to consider “fear-free” vet visits.
Over the past 15 years, there has been a movement toward “fear-free” visits, popularized by Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Marty Becker. Simply put, “fear-free” vet visits are designed to reduce or remove fear triggers for the pet. This leads to a more accepting patient and a better visit.
How a Fear-Free Visit Works
Call our office and let us know you want a fear-free visit and follow these steps to ease you and your pet’s anxiety:
- The first step is to get your pet acclimated to the carrier or their leash or harness. Bring out the carrier a week before. Feed your pet in the carrier or put food inside and get them comfortable going in and out. Get them used to riding in the car in their carrier. If you plan on bringing your pet to our office on a leash or harness be sure they are comfortable with it.
- We suggest you and your pet visit our office between appointments and give them a treat so they associate our clinic with positives.
- On the day of the appointment be sure your pet is a little hungry before the visit, unless we tell you otherwise. If blood work is not required offer your pet a treat upon arrival.
- When you arrive you can leave your pet in the car (assuming temperatures are safe) and ask if a room is available. If not, take your dog for a walk. Or, you and your cat can stay in the car.
- If you choose to wait in the lobby, we suggest a towel treated with a feline pheromone be placed over the carrier for your cat. Dogs will be given a bandana treated with Adaptil or a treat to encourage their good behavior while you wait for a room to become available.
- If time allows, once a room is available we’ll let your pet get acclimated to the room. This may not be consistently practical, but we’ll do our best to give your dog five minutes and your cat up to ten minutes to get comfortable. Then, our vet will come in and get to know your pet ensuring they are calm and ready for the planned procedure or examination. Upon completion, we’ll give your pet a treat and you are both on your way.