Fear Free Environment
Pets can find it scary going to the vet! Just like the anxiety many people have about a doctor or dentist visit, our patients can experience similar anxiety. The stress an animal feels while at the veterinary clinic also extends to his or her caretaker. In fact, many pets miss out on basic health care due to the fact that taking them to see the vet is just too stressful for both them and their owners.
The Fear Free initiative is a movement designed by veterinary behaviourists to reduce stress and anxiety in pets when they visit the animal hospital. Both Dr. McKinlay and Dr. Ashley are certified Fear Free Professionals who have undergone special training on the techniques that will reduce fear, stress and anxiety in your pets. In fact, our entire team at Oceanside Animal Hospital has undergone Fear Free training in order to make your pet's visit to the clinic as stress free as possible.
Here is what that means:
Before Your Visit
At home preparation
A Fear Free visit to the vet starts at home! Our staff are trained to help you achieve stress free travel to the vet clinic. This includes providing information about :
- Using your cat's carrier as a part of their daily routine
- Safe and stress free restraint for vehicle travel
- Fasting prior to the vet visit so your pet is more likely to take treats
- Use of appeasing pheromones or other supplements or medications if needed
Treats, treats and more treats
Often the way to our pet's heart is through their stomach, and giving tasty treats before, during, and after exams and procedures is very important for reducing stress in our patients. At Oceanside Animal Hospital we offer a variety of treats to tempt even the pickiest of pets! We even have treats that we can give to pets with food allergies, or prior to sedation.
Calming music for dogs and cats
Instead of listening to music from the radio, we play Through a Dog's Ear and Through a Cat's Ear music therapy CD's. This music is specifically made to prevent anxiety and soothe our dog and cat patients (and their humans too!) and has been proven through scientific studies to be effective.
Canine and feline calming pheromones
At Oceanside Animal Hospital we use specific dog and cat pheromones throughout the clinic to reduce anxiety for our patients. A dog Adaptil diffuser is plugged into our low stress exam rooms. A cat Feliway diffuser is plugged into our cat exam room, and each cat receives a towel that has been sprayed with Feliway-- this soothes cats.
Designated cat only and dog only exam rooms
Cats in particular can be stressed by seeing other animals while in the clinic, and can even become stressed by the odour of a dog in the vicinity. For this reason we have a designated cat exam room which is for cats only. It is stocked with tasty treats that even the pickiest cat can't refuse. Similarly our dog exam rooms are for dogs only, and have everything they need to make for a great visit to the vet. In addition, our vets know that sometimes being up on the exam table can be stressful for our pets, so they are happy to examine your pet wherever he or she is most comfortable.
We recommend that clients bring their dogs in regularly for pets and treats so they become familiar and comfortable with visiting us.
Canine patients at Oceanside Animal Hospital are kept warm before and after anesthesia by resting in our runs with heated tile floors. Smaller dogs and cat patients are warmed with circulating water blankets and heated towels. This results in greater patient comfort and faster recovery from surgical procedures.
Non-slip mats provide a comfortable surface for our dog patients to walk on without the fear of slipping. Senior dogs are provided with a comfortable mat to rest on while in our reception or examination rooms.
Gentle anti-anxiety medications or supplements
Our veterinarians will dispense anti-anxiety medications for very anxious pets prior to their appointment if needed, or will administer sedation for painful or very stressful procedures if necessary.
At Oceanside Animal Hospital we are committed to making each visit a very positive experience for every pet. Give us a call or stop by the clinic if you would like more information about our Fear Free philosophy!