Technician playing with dog

FEAR

FREE

For the dog you love…

To minimize stress and anxiety associated with your dog’s visit to our veterinary hospital, we recommend the following:

  • Go for car rides. Many dogs associate car rides with visits to the veterinarian or groomer. Add some enjoyable rides to the park or beach in between those visits to dissociate car rides with potential stress. If your pet experiences motion sickness or has anxiety with car rides, please tell us. There are numerous pharmaceutical products that can help. For motion sickness, we recommend Meclizine or Cerenia. For anxiety, we recommend Trazodone or Alprazolam.
  • Bring your dog hungry to the clinic. If a pet’s appointment is near a mealtime, feed a smaller amount or not at all (unless medically contraindicated) so that the pet will respond better to food rewards at the hospital. If your dog has a favorite treat, bring it with you. Don’t worry if you forget, we’ve got plenty of baby food, soft cheese, pretzels and dog treats to share with them. We want your pet to learn that going to a veterinary hospital is fun and tasty!
  • Stay relaxed. Dogs sense when owners are anxious or nervous, and that makes them worse. Take a breath and relax. Don’t pull too hard on the leash: speak in a calm, low tone and act friendly toward all staff members. Your pet will pick up on these unthreatening cues. We’re here to help if your pet is anxious– so call us for advice.
  • If previous veterinary visits were stressful, tell us! We may recommend nutraceuticals (like Solliquin or Zylkene) or pharmaceutical products, (like Trazodone or Alprazolam) to reduce your pet’s stress. These products must be given in advance of the visit to reduce your pet’s anxiety. Just ask us, and we will make appropriate recommendations.
  • Drop by for treats. Stop in for a friendly visit between scheduled doctor appointments for a treat and a little positive attention. It is best to visit our practice during a quiet time of our day, such as noontime on weekdays. I’d recommend calling us and confirming that it’s a good time for your pet to visit. For a great experience, you can schedule a free friendly visit with a certified technician to engage in a brief training session in one of our examination rooms. This will help your pet see us as friends, not enemies.
  • If your dog is dog aggressive or has stranger anxiety, tell us! Call us on your cell phone when you arrive at our parking lot and we will escort your pet directly into an examination room so that it avoids other pets and strangers.
  • Would your pet be more comfortable waiting in the car rather than in the waiting room? Just let us know and we’ll be glad to accommodate you.
  • Special calming chemical signals, called pheromones, are infused throughout our examination rooms and waiting room. These odorless pheromones are undetectable to humans and create a sense of familiarity and security in dogs. When you enter our clinic, please ask a receptionist or veterinary assistant for a bandana that has been sprayed with Adaptil (calming pheromone) if you feel your pet may be anxious. Simply tie this around your pet’s neck for it to be effective.
  • We try to accommodate pet preferences. Some pets prefer to be examined on the table, others on your lap, or on the floor. We will try to accommodate your pet’s preference, so just let us know.
  • Low stress handling techniques will be used to handle your pets. We will use gentle control techniques, innovative tools and medication when necessary to ensure your pet’s emotional health is not sacrificed for the sake of medical care. If we perceive your pet is stressed, we will pause the examination and re-evaluate the situation. If necessary, we may choose to sedate your pet or reschedule the visit after an anti-anxiety medication is given at home.We also use specialized distraction techniques to keep your pet focused on good experiences while we perform procedures, such as injections, that might cause brief stress or pain. Frequently, this involves distracting them by feeding them a highly palatable treat – so please let us know if your pet has any adverse reactions to foods prior to starting the examination appointment.
  • Appropriate pain management is always on our mind. If your dog is painful, it may be more reactive and fearful. Please alert us in advance of performing any evaluation. There are a number of pain-relief options available for your dog to allow a more comfortable visit.
  • We accommodate for doctor preference. Some dogs like certain people more than others. If your dog enjoys working with a specific veterinarian, I’d encourage you to schedule future appointments with that favorite doctor. It’s surprising how often we see this in our patients.

We understand that our pets need to be treated with care and patience in an environment that is designed with comfort in mind. We strongly believe that having calmer, less stressed and fearful patients is best for everyone involved and leads to better deliverance of veterinary medical care.

Experience the difference… schedule your appointment today!

FEAR

FREE

For the cat you love…

To minimize stress and anxiety associated with your dog’s visit to our veterinary hospital, we recommend the following:

Lady with cat
Technician playing with cat
  • Desensitize your cat to its carrier. If you have the space, make the carrier a part of your family room furniture so it is not always associated with a stressful event. Alternatively, bring out the cat carrier a few days before their scheduled appointment so that they can acclimate to it. Give them treats in the carrier. Place a soft, comfy blanket sprayed with a facial feline pheromone, called Feliway, to soothe them. Feliway is available at many pet stores and online. Making your cat’s carrier a welcoming place to rest helps prevent the association of carrier and stressful ride to a veterinary hospital.
  • Bring your cat hungry to the clinic. Reduce or skip breakfast for a morning appointment if not medically contraindicated. Bring your cat’s favorite treats to their appointment. This gives us the chance to share treats with our patients and help associate us with good things. If you forget, don’t worry; we have plenty baby food and treats to give your cat.
  • Stay relaxed. Like children, when we are anxious or agitated, our pets get anxious or agitated. So, take a deep breath and relax. Worrying in advance of the visit does not help anyone!
  • Talk to us! No one knows your cat better than you and that’s why it is important that you act as its advocate. Tucked tail, pacing, excessive shedding, growling and panting are common signs of fear and stress in cats. If your cat has displayed any of these signs during a previous veterinary visit, please tell us and we can advise you how to minimize your pet’s stress in the future.A synthetic pheromone (called Feliway) that mimics a naturally calming chemical in the body can be sprayed on towels and then, placed in carriers to encourage a peaceful trip to our veterinary clinic. Additionally, there are nutraceutical products, like Solliquin, which can be given in advance of a visit to help relax your cat. My favorite pharmaceutical relaxing agent is called Gabapentin. Traditionally used as a pain medication, it has a wonderful calming effect on cats if given the night before the visit and 1-2 hours before the appointment. Just call us for advice. We want to help you make your visit to our clinic as pleasant as possible.

Once you arrive at the clinic:

  • Minimize use of the waiting room. Call us at 773.525.3353 on your cell phone and let us know that you have arrived at our parking lot. We can meet you at either front or side door and bring you to our private feline-only examination room on the second floor. This avoids the waiting room where it may be a bit noisy and dogs may be present. If you choose to wait in the waiting room, please do not put your cat’s carrier on the floor. This adds to their stress and allows dogs to get too close to their carrier. Place the cat carrier on a chair or bench so they can avoid this dog interaction.
  • Once in the feline-only examination room, we recommend that you open your cat’s carrier door and let them exit on their own. Let them explore the room where we have special shelving units for them to climb up on and games to play with. Do NOT tip the cage and drag the cat out. This only enhances their stress level. If they choose not to exit on their own, take the top off their carrier and soothingly stroke them. If a cat likes to be brushed or combed, bring a brush or comb along and groom them while they acclimate to our room.
  • In the Feline-Only examination room, your cat will be presented with a towel sprayed with Feliway to help calm them. They can sit on this towel or hide under it – what ever they choose is fine with us. Additionally, a soft mat will be placed on the examination table so they don’t have to touch the cold stainless steel examination tabletop. Both of these will proactively reduce your cat’s stress and anxiety.
  • When the veterinarian arrives in the room, a complete physical examination will be performed in a gentle manner. If your cat is distraught, this examination will be paused and the veterinarian will discuss with you alternative ways to proceed. This may include a sedative injection or an option to return another day after you pre-medicate your cat with a recommended anti-anxiety medication.Regretfully, anti-anxiety medications are NOT effective once a pet has become stressed. They must be given at least 1-2 hours before a stressful event to be effective. Do NOT be embarrassed that you have to return another day. It happens even in the best-tempered cats. We also are mindful that if your cat has an unpleasant veterinary visit today, the next visit will most likely be worse. We definitely don’t want to go down this miserable pathway especially, when our goal is to have a long, happy relationship with our patients.
  • Create a sense of calm in the room. Entrances in and out of examination room will be kept to a minimum to reduce startling your cat.
  • Unless medically necessary, your cat will remain in your presence. Being surrounded by familiar people comforts cats and we respect and acknowledge this. However, if you prefer not to be present, let us know this too! We do not wish you to faint when we draw blood!
  • If your pet is painful, before an examination is performed, we will recommend an injectable pain medication before we proceed. Your pet’s comfort is a top priority for us.

We understand that our pets need to be treated with care and patience in an environment that is designed with comfort in mind. We strongly believe that having calmer, less stressed and fearful patients is best for everyone involved and leads to better deliverance of veterinary medical care.

Experience the difference… schedule your appointment today!