Fear Free Dog Visits

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.

Common differences you will note at practices with Fear Freesm-certified staff include the use of treats and praise throughout the visit.  If your pet has an allergy or food sensitivity, be sure to let us know ahead of time and bring along the high value treats you use at home.  Some pets respond better to toys, so feel free to bring your pet’s favorite toys so we can play and diffuse anxiety throughout the appointment.

If you have questions about helping your pet have a more Fear Free Veterinary Experience, please contact us!  Let us know if your pet has veterinary anxiety when you make your appointment.  We can’t do it alone. The Fear Freesm experience starts at home. 

Fear Free Dog Visits

1.  Bring your pet’s favorite treats with you. 

            Give a couple of small bites in the car.
            Give a bite when you arrive in the reception area, while practicing “sit” and “lie down”.
            Give a bite when you settle into the exam room, again while practicing calm behaviors.
            Save the rest for us!  This way, we will have more opportunity to give treats to help make the
            experience more pleasant!

2.  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.

3.  Practice riding in the car if your dog is not a big fan.

            Let him/her eat treats in the car, without turning it on.
            Gradually get them to get in the car for treats.
            Let them eat treats with the car on, before driving.
            Reward calm behavior in the car with treats.

4.  Ask us for additional medication for anxiety or carsickness if needed

5.  Visit us during slow times, when things are calm.  Call us ahead of time to make sure.

            Practice calm behaviors like “sit”, “wait”, and “down”.

            Practice getting on and off the scale, give a treat for a calm “sit” on the scale.

            Practice walking through doors that make your pet nervous.

            Practice being on the exam table.  Make sure your pet’s favorite treats are always there!  Ask 
            one of us if you can just practice without an exam – only loves and pets.

            Let us give treats too!  Either use yours or let us “spoil” your pet with something new and
            different!  Speak up if your pet has any food allergies or is on a prescription diet!

6.  Some tools that can help.

            1.  Adaptil is a dog pheromone that helps calm and reduce stress by mimicking the soothing scents of “mama’s” milk glands.  You can get a diffuser for home or get a spray or wipes to use in the car. CLICK HERE FOR LINK.
            2.  Thundershirts or Anxiety Wraps.  Their firm swaddling effect calms many anxious dogs.

            3.  Natural Supplements such as Zylkene (which can be purchased through our online store CLICK HERE FOR LINK), and given at home a day or two before a visit can really help with mild anxiety.

            4.  Prescription oral medications may be needed for pets with more significant anxiety.  Anxiety medications need to be tailored to each individual pet since pets react differently to different medications.  If one type of medication or one dose doesn’t work something different can be tried next time until we find the right combination of treatments that makes both you and your pet the most comfortable.

7.  Injectable medication or additional oral medications can also be given by our veterinarian once you are in the hospital if your dog is still very anxious.  This is a valuable tool in allowing a stress free examination, blood collection or other testing.