How to change your companion’s vet from enemy to friend

Emily and I (owner of Homeward Bound) have collectively spent a lot of time working in a veterinary clinic. When working with behavior And in a veterinary context, it becomes very clear how many animals find the experience of going to the veterinary clinic stressful. Of course, this stress exists in different degrees. Some animals are only mildly anxious while others are completely panicked. Some don’t care about the lobby, some don’t care until the pushing and prodding begins, and some begin their spiraling descent into madness during the ride.

That being said, some really enjoy the vet clinic. I’ve found that even in this category, many are aroused but overstimulated, which can certainly manifest as its own taste of stress, or even… its root. Since stress.

Emily and I worked for a fearless veterinary clinic, which meant there was a culture instilled that ensured every step was taken to keep the animals as stress-free as possible. It is an amazing experience to have a veterinarian like this, and the number of clinics learning and engaging in fearless practices is growing every year. Many clients have come to this clinic because of the way they approach animal behavioral welfare. Many new clients who have come to the clinic have been told that their animal is not handleable by other clinics.

I could write an entire novel about what goes on in fearless veterinary practices, but my goal here is not to focus on that. I would like to point out that if a veterinarian is not fearless doesn’t mean they’re a bad vet or a bad clinic. Vets are some of the hardest working and most underrated professionals I know. Veterinarians are not school trained in complex animal behavior so any knowledge they have is optional on their end (either formally or self-learned). They are trained to be practitioners who focus on the physical health and welfare of an animal, and while they don’t like some of their patients to be scared and combative, their already difficult job is to s make sure the companion gets out of the animal. the office in the best possible physical health within the constraints of what is in fact possible. This is to ensure that they educate their customers on how to maintain or restore health.

They are also trained, like the rest of the staff (or should be), on how to protect themselves when their patient is frightened, because a frightened animal is absolutely a biting animal.

My job is to focus on the emotional health of my clients. When the two can go hand in hand and everyone works as a team, it’s definitely easier. Working as a team means everyone is on board to address all aspects, which is important given how often physical and emotional health can influence each other.

If your vet doesn’t offer services specifically focused on your pet’s experience during their stay, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to help them feel better with the vet.

  1. Talk to your vet about situational anxiety medications to see if they think incorporating something like this would be appropriate or helpful before your next visit. It’s not (or shouldn’t be if done right) about drugging your pet. It’s about reducing their stress levels and giving them the ability to better cope with what’s happening. Many animals exacerbate their fear with each subsequent visit when their emotional state is not taken into account and I know of many clients who now have to sedate their animal in order to do a baseline exam because at this point it’s is the safest and most humane way. to help them. It’s okay if you have one of these animals, but if it can be prevented or treated with medication before the vet visit, it will save you money and stress.

  2. Before COVID, I would have told you to go to your vet when you don’t have an appointment so you can come in, give your dog some tasty treats and he can walk away with nothing but a good experience. Nothing serious happens. This has naturally been phased out during the pandemic, but whether or not your vet is allowing people in, you should always have a conversation with staff about these visits to ensure they are accepting unscheduled visitors for brief visits and call ahead to see if it is a good time. always an essential. Working in a veterinary clinic can get hectic, so visits during busy times will likely only add stress to other patients, your dog, and staff. If your veterinary clinic does not let people in outside of appointments, you can still make the same visit but in the parking lot. It’s not quite the same but it’s still useful. Building a positive association is the way to go.

  3. If your pet likes treats and can safely receive food during the visit, take their favorite snacks to distract them during their appointment. Some animals will be so stressed during an exam that their digestive system will shut down and they won’t want to eat, so this won’t suit everyone.

There are much more intensive measures that can be taken to help your pet feel better after their veterinary experience, and even if this is only possible once or twice a year, it is still important. Cooperative care training is an amazing way to teach your pet to voluntarily participate in their own handling, examinations, blood draws and nail clippings and of course we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this. If you have a particularly stressed animal at the vet, you may want to check it out. without fear clinics in your area. Don’t think of this as giving up on your current vet, but rather as a visit to a more specialized place to meet your pet’s needs. Many vets from other clinics have referred their clients to vets without fear to help them get the care they need.

If you have questions about how your pet could be helped with cooperative care training, we offer in-person services within a 40-mile radius of Wyocena, Wisconsin and Des Moines, Iowa. Virtual help is an effective option and can provide you with assistance from anywhere in the United States! contact us here!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *