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Westridge Pet Hospital & Wellness Center Fear Free Vet Visits
“Fear Free” is a movement gaining traction in the veterinary community to provide low stress handling during a pet’s veterinary visit and decrease any anxiety involved as much as possible. When an animal is stressed, several potentially harmful physiologic changes occur. We also realize it’s not fun for pet moms and dads to watch their pet suffer in this way. Many people aren’t aware this movement exists, and assume that their animal being scared is a necessary evil of keeping up with their pet’s health care needs. It doesn’t have to be this way! We here at Westridge Pet Hospital are committed to doing our best to relieve your pet’s stress during visits to the clinic. Some of the ways we do this include providing warm towels and Feliway pheromone diffusers for cats, using behaviorist recommended restraint techniques for procedures such as blood draws or ear swabs, taking extra time in exams to let the pet get adjusted, providing treats, playing music in our kennel that is clinically proven to reduce anxiety, etc. Further, we offer drop off appointments for “Nervous Nellys” during which we can do numerous things broken down into small bits over the day so that the vet experience is more on the pet’s own, calmer terms.
There are things you as pet owners can do at home to help with our Fear Free movement as well!
  • Bring your pets to their appointments hungry! This helps when we use treats to help them realize the vet clinic is a fun place to be!

  • Desensitize your pets to their carriers. If your pet travels to the hospital in a carrier, consider leaving the carrier out in your house in one of their favorite spots and feeding your pet IN it! This associates the carrier with positive feelings, and makes it much easier to catch them on appointment day. You can also use Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs) which are synthetic calming pheromones to wipe or spray in the carrier to offer more positive associations with the carrier. ¬†

  • Consider Thundershirts. Your pet can wear them during the appointment to help provide a calming “hug” feeling.

  • Desensitize your pets to the clinic! Feel free to come by, let your pet see the sights and smell the smells, get some treats and some pets from the staff and be on your way. Your pet will gradually associate Westridge as a place with nice people and yummy food rather than with needles, thermometers, and hair clippers!
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