Fearful Dogs and Cats

May 03, 2017

Our approach to the fearful dog and cat…

At ECVS, our goal for your pet- dog or cat- is for the visit to be as stress –free as possible. Most people can easily identify a happy dog or cat but have difficulty recognizing stress. Our doctors and staff are trained to recognize fearful behavior in your furry friend. If we believe your dog or cat is stressed, we try to work slowly so that we do not overwhelm them. Keeping the appointment positive is key. Dogs and cats remember negative experiences throughout their lives. Actually, it can take 10 times as many positive experiences to outweigh just one negative. With dogs, many of you have noticed that we examine your pet on the floor or even your lap. The idea behind this is to keep them as calm and comfortable as possible. We keep notes on things your dog is afraid of in the clinic- whether it is the room with the window, stethoscopes, white coats, nail trims, or even certain people. We love fostering a positive experience with treats…lots of treats! We also take notes on your pet’s favorite treats so that we offer the best one at subsequent appointments. Occasionally, certain diagnostics or procedures are not possible with fearful pets. We are not advocates of heavy restraint in order to draw blood, trim nails, etc. Unfortunately, pets don’t realize that we are only trying to trim their nails. They perceive being forcibly restrained as a threat, even a life threatening situation. If we attempt these procedures with your dog or cat and recommend returning on an anxiety medication, we are doing this for the benefit of your pet. Anti-anxiety meds such as trazodone, ativan, and gabapentin allow us to achieve the goals of the appointment more safely and in a much less stressful manner. We are also big supporters of “happy visits”. “Happy visits” are fun, free visits to the clinic for extra love and treats from our staff. We have found that this can help desensitize your pet to the anxiety of veterinary visits.

We are constantly learning new ways to reduce stress for your pet in our clinic. Although repeat visits can mean more time for you, it can mean a much more positive experience for you and your pet. Our goal is to provide high quality medicine in a low stress, caring environment. Please let us know if you have any questions during your appointment!


Loading Conversation