Our Fear Free Commitment to You and Your Pet!
The Fear Freesm initiative focuses on creating a veterinary experience that keeps your pet in a calm and happy state of mind. All of our staff at the Animal Hospital of Orleans are trained and certified in Fear Freesm protocols. Making the veterinary experience the best it can be for you and your pet is both a passion and a goal of ours.
What does a Fear Free visit look like?
- Before your pet’s appointment, we’ll ask if you have any concerns about transporting your pet. We want to make sure that their experience starts well before you even leave home.
- If possible, we will address these concerns ahead of your appointment. Other times, we may discuss those concerns during your visit instead.
- We may ask that you bring your pet hungry, as well as bring any favorite treats or toys.
- We will remind you to give any prescribed calming medication.
Arriving at AHO
- When you arrive, we’ll do our best to place you into an exam room quickly.
- If your pet would do better outside, you can call us upon arrival and let us know that you’ll be waiting outside.
- Cats have their own waiting area to the left of the receptionists counter. You can place your carrier up on the cabinet and cover with a towel, if needed. There is a Feliway pheromone diffuser plugged in right there that will help relieve stress.
Working with Your Pet
- With your permission, we’ll use a wide variety of treats during your pet’s exam and any necessary procedures. These special treats will help your pet feel more at ease and will provide a welcome distraction from anything that may have caused them anxiety in the past. Over time, as your pet repeatedly has positive experiences at AHO, we hope that they become so comfortable here that they’re excited to visit us!
- We’ll examine your pet wherever they’re most comfortable. Sometimes this is on an exam table, but it may even be on the floor, in a chair, or in your lap.
- There are both Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs) plug-in diffusers in each room. These release calming scents that help your pet feel more at ease.
- There will be calming music, specifically for pets, playing to block out stressful sounds. This music is playing through all areas of the hospital and kennel. You can also borrow a cd to use at home before your appointment and in the car on the way to the office.
When Things Aren’t Going Well
- If your pets stress and anxiety level is rising during their visit, we may ask you for permission to give them some calming medication. This helps ensure that your pet has a fear-free and positive experience with us. Well trained staff will monitor your pet while they are sedated.
- We may prescribe medication for you to give before your next visit. Like with sedation, this medication will help your pet have a positive experience with us. Many pets feel much better when they receive these medications. The risk of untreated stress is much greater than any side effect of these medications.
- We may ask that you reschedule a procedure if it does not need completed that day and sedation is not possible. We will not push your pet to “get it done.”
How you can help your pet have a Fear Free visit?
- Try to ensure that your pet is hungry when you arrive for their appointment (unless otherwise advised by a staff member). For instance, if their appointment is scheduled in the morning, wait to feed them their breakfast until afterwards. If they have an appointment later in the day, you could feed them half of their normal breakfast and save the rest for a later meal. This will help make the food rewards that we offer seem very enticing. Just like with people, food often tastes best when your pet is hungry.
- Consider bringing some of your pet’s favorite treats and/or toys from home. The higher the value to your pet the better. If your pet likes dry pet biscuits but loves _________ (ex. shredded chicken breast, canned food, carrots, etc.) – bring what your pet loves.
- When you schedule your pet’s appointment, please let us know if you have any concerns about their upcoming visit. This could include challenges posed while getting to AHO (ex. car sickness, “capturing” your cat in its carrier, etc.) or how they typically react when they enter our lobby. We’re eager to help however we can to ensure that your pet has a positive experience during their appointment – from the time they leave home until they’re back home again.
- Based on your pet’s stress level during previous visits, we may prescribe calming medication. This medication will help your pet relax and enjoy their visit. Please be sure to give this medication as prescribed. We see great results with medication. Pets that were very fearful feel much better about their visit! Some pets that could not tolerate procedures do much better!
- Work with your pet on the things that make them nervous. For example, if your pet is nervous with car rides, it may help to take some short, positive trips around the block. Or, it may help to have a “happy visit” to us in which you bring your pet in to receive treats.