Making a Trip to the Vet Fear Free

Photo courtesy of Megan VanParis

Some of our clients know that we officially became the first Fear Free certified practice in Illinois in June 2018. This means, we strive to make every visit for your furry family member as stress-free and anxiety-free as possible.

We know that every pet has different levels of comfort coming to the vet – some pull their owners in the door, while others are more reserved. For the pets who are a little shy coming to us, we have several options to help make their appointments less stressful. We have a Fear Free administrator, Megan VanParis, who speaks with clients to discuss the best options for a successful time. Megan schedules “happy visits” for pets to come in for treats and rewards without anything done. These happy visits can also include desensitization to triggers that cause a fearful response such as nail trims, vaccinations or ear cleanings. For pets who may need a little more help coming in, Megan collaborates with the doctors to prescribe calming medications that can be administered before visits. Megan also calls new clients who list veterinary and travel related anxieties on their new client paperwork to discuss their pet’s preferences and fear triggers. This way the doctor and the veterinary staff know how best to handle the pet and how to make it a positive first appointment.

When it comes to diagnostics and treatments, we want to make sure each pet is set up for success. Our technicians and assistants will attempt three different times for 3 seconds with dogs and 2 times or 2 seconds for cats. This means that if we are unable to complete drawing blood, nail trims, ear cleanings, etc. in those number of tries, we will stop so we do not further stress out your furry family member. While clients may need to come back so we can finish the diagnostics or treatments, we do not want pets crossing the fear threshold, which could further impact future visits.

We want to make sure every pet that comes to Blum has a great experience! For more information on how becoming Fear Free Certified has changed how we do things here, click here. If you have any further questions about how to help your pet have a successful visit, please call us at: (773) 327-4446.

Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.