We are so excited to announce that Blum Animal Hospital has become the first animal hospital in not only Chicago or Lakeview, but in the entire state of Illinois, to become Fear Free Certified! We are the 7th hospital in the country and the largest overall practice to become certified. If you have been to Blum within the past year and a half, you may have noticed the different tactics we have implemented to try and make vet visits as stress-free and anxiety-free as possible for both pets and people.
From the moment you and your pet come into the lobby, the Fear Free experience starts. We offer bandanas to dogs that have been sprayed with Adaptil, a calming scent that mimics the ones their moms omitted when they were puppies. For cats, we offer towels to cover carriers that have been sprayed with Feliway, a calming scent that imitates the odor cats omit when they rub their faces on things when they are happy. We also redesigned our lobby, so cats and dogs are separate – sometimes unintentional interaction can be stressful for both canines and felines. In the lobby and all the exam rooms we have added Fear Free music to help ease your pet’s anxiety and help keep them calm and relaxed.
We also offer high reward treats for your furry family members to help make their vet experience a positive one. Dogs can choose from frozen peanut butter cups, cream cheese cones, Kraft cheese singles, turkey hot dogs, or easy cheese and pretzel sticks. Cats can choose from tuna cups, Silvervine catnip or anchovy paste. We recommend fasting your pet for a couple hours prior to bringing them in, so they are hungry when they come in and are motivated to eat.
All of our Veterinary Assistants have been trained to pay attention to your pet’s body language and understand the FAS (Fear, Anxiety and Stress) scale. If your pet becomes too stressed or anxious, we stop any non-essential treatments and reschedule it for a different day. Part of the Fear Free Initiative is putting the focus on your pet’s emotional health and well-being in addition to their physical health, and how the two are connected. If your furry family member has anxiety or stress when coming to see us, we also offer “happy visits” for them to come in just to visit with us and receive treats and positive reinforcement. Our goal is to make sure every pet who comes in to see us has a happy, successful visit!
We are so proud of this accomplishment and are very grateful to all our clients for helping us be successful by doing their part in making their pets’ visits as Fear Free as possible. Whether this is by bringing them in hungry, offering their pet treats during the exam or managing their travel stress prior to the appointment. This is a huge achievement for Blum, and we are excited to further your pet’s Fear Free experience!
Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.