How A Low-Stress Visit Works
Calm, No-Rush Exams
We let your pet lead, so they don't feel insecure while receiving care. Exams happen where your pet prefers. If they are comfortable on the padded exam table, we will use it, but we don't force the issue. We work with your pet to do our exams in the position that helps them relax. Sometimes that means that they remain in your arms for most of the exam, to give them time to acclimate to us and their new surroundings. Other times, it means we get down on their level, in the floor, if that's where they feel less stress. We are flexible, so they can feel secure.
Treats & Attention
Your pet will get accolades, verbal praise, pets and strokes and even treats during the course of their exam. (We are not above bribery!) We know that not all parts of an exam are enjoyable, but we make sure the overall experience is a good one for them!
No Startles & No Stares
We have remodeled our office, lab and exam rooms with "soft close" doors and drawers to eliminate any sudden noises that may startle your pet. We will talk to you first, since immediate eye contact is often considered a sign of aggression in the animal kingdom. We don't want your pet to feel challenged or fearful, and want to give them time to "warm up" to us before we begin any exams.
Low-Stress Advanced Care
If your pet needs a higher level of dental care or surgical care, we make that stress-free too. We play soft music in the recovery area to ease them back, gently, after any required procedure and we warm blankets to keep them cozy while they wake up. Or recovery areas are species specific too, so they don't wake up to the scent of another animal that may overly excite or worry them.
We have equipped our exam rooms with everything you and your pet will need, so they don't have to change locations, which can cause anxiety:
- A quiet location that's private and free from distractions
- Slip-free pads and fresh, fluffy towels on the exam surfaces to improve their balance and sense of security
- Species-specific natural pheromones on surfaces or diffused to calm them through their highly developed sense of smell
- In-room checkout to help avoid any wait in a busy reception area where other pets and people may be entering and leaving our office
Cat & Kitten Care
- Feline only exam room
- Use of Feline pheromones to calm
- Patients come out of carriers on their own
Dog & Puppy Care
- Canine only exam room
- Pre-visit sedatives for anxious pets
- Treats, peanut butter and gentle approaches
Low-Stress Starts at Home
Introduce your dog or cat to the carrier you will use for trips to our office at home. Let them use it door open and door closed, in a room where they already feel safe and happy. Consider adding dog or cat pheromone spray on the pad or soft bedding in the crate. (This is what we use in our office to help calm and soothe, too!) Add a favorite toy.
Acclimate them to riding in a car. Don't let a trip to the vet be the only time they go for a drive. Take rides with them in their crate, carefully secured so there's no sliding, or in their leash or halter restraint. Be sure these trips are calm, without sudden stops, starts or loud noises. With a little exposure to riding comfortably -- and a potential a treat during the ride too! -- they won't be anxious from their ride before they reach our office. Make riding fun for them.
Be sure to restrict food a couple hours before your appointment, to encourage them to be more accepting of treats from our doctors and technicians. This will help your dog or cat to have good feelings about their experience and associate their visit with pleasant things -- like treats!
You an spray calming pheremones on the bedding in their crate before a trip or on a bandana around their neck. If your pet is particularly anxious, we may suggest a mild sedative prior to your visit. If your pet becomes overly upset during a non-emergency visit, we may suggest that you return at a later time, using some of the suggestions above to help reduce their stress. We will work with you to help them have a great experience in our office.