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Preparing Your Pet for a Stress-Free Veterinary Visit

Our Dr. Treat team’s guide on preparing your pet for a stress-free veterinary visit will help ensure they get the care they need to live their healthiest, happiest, and longest lives.

Dr Treat
Preparing Your Pet for a Stress-Free Veterinary Visit

Key takeaway

Our Dr. Treat team have designed an environment that prevents and alleviates fear, anxiety, and stress for pets from the moment they walk through our door. However, a pet’s stress-free veterinary experience starts at home, and you can help by preparing your pet for their visit.

visit to the doctor isn’t on anyone’s favorites list, and pets feel similarly about visiting the veterinarian.

What does a Stress- Free experience look like at our clinic?

We are committed to going beyond the status quo and rethinking the way we care for pets. One way we do that is by improving a pet’s appointment experience. As a clinic and a company that embraces Fear Free every Dr. Treat team member—from our front desk staff to our veterinarians—have been trained in providing care in the Fear Free way. Our clinic was specifically designed with a pet’s comfort in mind with a variety of extra touches, including the calming pheromones diffused in our waiting room and separate waiting areas and rooms for cats and dogs. Your pet’s wellbeing is our top priority, and we know that their emotional health is as important as their physical health. We know that we are one part of your pet’s wellness team, and that you—the pet owner—play an essential role in your pet’s veterinary experience. Here are our tips that will help you prepare your pet for a stress-free and positive veterinary visit. 

As a clinic and a company that embraces Fear Free every Dr. Treat team member—from our front desk staff to our veterinarians—have been trained in providing care in the Fear Free way.

#1: Schedule your pet’s visit strategically

When scheduling your pet’s routine visit, review your schedule carefully to ensure you won't be rushed and can be fully present to focus on your pet. Consider the following when you schedule your pet’s appointment:

  • Your upcoming calendar — If possible, schedule your pet’s appointment on a day that’s wide open. Trust us, you will be much calmer knowing you don’t have to be anywhere else, rather than trying to squeeze in a visit during your lunch hour. Pets pick up on their owner’s emotions,  and if you feel stressed, they will, too.
  • Travel time — Factor in traffic, and give yourself plenty of time so you are not rushing for your pet’s appointment. Add in a few minutes to leash your pet for a quick potty break before heading inside .
  • Your pet’s personality — Every pet is unique, and we strive to provide them all with a personalized veterinary experience. Let us know before your appointment if your pet has any special needs that we can accommodate to reduce their anxiety. 
  • Questions and concerns — Get the most out of your visit by preparing a list of questions, such as how to administer your pet’s medications and parasite preventives, their vaccination schedule, and any concerns you may have. Take your list to the appointment to ensure you get answers to all your questions.  

#2: Bring treats and other items to support your pet

Pets commonly feel nervous in a strange environment with new sights, sounds, and smells, and we know that although they’ll feel much more comfortable in our Fear-Free designed environment, they probably would still prefer to stay home. You can ease your pet’s fears with high-value treats you know they love (Psst..we will also have some treats in case you forget!). If possible, bring in your pet on an empty stomach to make these treats more desirable. Also, consider bringing the following items to your pet’s appointment:

  • Calming vest or wrap — Adjustable wraps like the ThunderShirt apply constant, gentle pressure to your pet’s body, and may help manage their anxiety. 
  • Anxiety medication — Anti-anxiety medication is an option for pets with extreme anxiety and fear who need additional help. If your pet is a new patient and typically requires a sedative for veterinary visits, ensure you have their prescription filled by their previous veterinarian, since we cannot prescribe medication prior to your pet’s first visit. 
  • Muzzle — There’s no shame in muzzling your pet for their visit if they react inappropriately because of their anxiety. A soft muzzle can reduce their emotional distress and protect our staff during their exam. 
  • Familiar items — Bring your pet something from home, such as a favorite toy, blanket, or grooming brush, for added comfort and distraction. 

#3: Practice with your pet before their visit

Our Dr. Treat team handles your pet with a Fear-Free approach that includes using quiet voices, moving calmly and deliberately, avoiding large hand gestures, approaching your pet considerately, and touching them gently during their exam. You can prepare your pet for their head-to-tail examination by handling them at home, using positive reinforcement, and rewarding them with treats and praise when they allow you to gently manipulate their ears and feet. Also, ensure your pet is comfortable in their carrier or kennel before their visit and that they will be safe and secure in the car or the clinic’s waiting room. 

Routine physical examinations and testing are the best way to proactively maintain your pet’s optimal health. With our practice’s Fear Free methods, the Dr. Treat team’s training and expertise, and your help, we can ensure your pet’s veterinary experience is positive and stress-free. Sign your pet up for a Dr. Treat One™ membership, and experience a whole new type of veterinary care.

Written by:

Dr Treat

A veterinary practice that is reimagining the approach to the health and wellbeing of companion animals.

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