All posts in Fear Free Pet

9 Ways To Keep Your Pet Fear Free On July 4th

9 Ways To Keep Your Pet Fear Free On July 4th

Did you know that the 4th of July weekend is the #1 weekend for lost pets taken to shelters in Springfield, MO and nationwide? Does your dog or cat have a noise phobia and become fearful, anxious, or stressed to loud noises such as thunderstorms, fireworks, etc? Are you making their anxiety worse or better? Here are some tips to try and create a more “Fear Free” holiday for everyone to enjoy:

  1. Remove your fearful pet from the environment if possible. It may be less stressful to take your pet to a friend or family member’s house that is away from the fireworks and noise. If that is not possible, check with your veterinarian or boarding facility to see if they have room to lodge your pet for the night or weekend.veterinarian-springfield-mo-frightened-cat-feature-image
  2. Create a sound-proof room or safe haven for your pets. Keep your pet in the interior most room in the home with no doors or windows to the exterior of the home. Basements make a great retreat as they are usually darker, well-insulated, and lack exterior doors or windows preventing a possible escape attempt which could lead to injury. If your pet is crate-trained, then place them in the crate with their favorite toy or blanket for reassurance.  Then cover the crate with a thick towel or blanket to darken the environment and to also help buffer loud noises. Your pet will hopefully feel safe in this comfortable environment.
  3. Provide a musical distraction using sound therapy. Playing the radio or keeping the TV on can help muffle the sounds to outside fears and stressors. http://throughadogsear.com/ is a website that has an assortment of calming music for a variety of anxieties such as fireworks, thunderstorms, car rides, etc.veterinarian-springfield-mo-through-a-dogs-ear
  4. Swaddle their fear away. Similar to swaddling infants, a thunder shirt ( www.thundershirt.com ) applies a gentle, constant pressure to help relieve stress and anxiety. It is a drug-free way to safely, effectively, and inexpensively calm your pet.veterinarian-springfield-mo-thunder-shirt
  5. Nutraceuticals to calm the fear away. Products that contain L-Theanine, L-tryptophan, and/or melatonin have been shown to provide a calming effect to pets. It’s better to start these products 1-2 weeks beforehand as these sometimes take time in order to reach therapeutic levels.
  6. Aromatherapy. Lavender and Chamomile can provide a calming effect when diffused into the room, but it is important to remember to never apply any essential oils topically to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian as some can be toxic to your pet. Feliway (www.feliway.com) and Adaptil (www.adaptil.com) are pheromones used to naturally reduce stress and anxiety in your pet and can be used for a variety of stressors. They are available in diffusers, sprays, and collars and have worked wonders for many of our patients with mild anxieties. These work best when paired with behavioral modification techniques and given for a longer period of time.veterinarian-springfield-mo-adaptil-feliway
  7. Anxiolytics and other behavioral modification drugs. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it simply is not enough to help relieve fear, stress, and anxiety in our furry companions and that’s when you need to talk to your veterinarian about prescribing a medication to prevent the situation from escalating out of control. There are many short-acting medications that can be used such as Trazadone, Alprazolam, and Diazepam that can be given within a few hours of the anticipated events to safely reduce anxiety and will not have long lasting side-effects. We have used Trazadone for many of our boarding patients when they have become fearful of being away from home and it has helped tremendously with decreasing and/or eliminating stress-induced colitis resulting in bloody diarrhea.  Talk to your veterinarian in advance as sometimes these medications need to be compounded in order to get cats to easily take them.
  8. “Ace” for your pet?  Acepromazine was once commonly prescribed for thunderstorm and fireworks phobia because it is a great sedative.  However, it may do little for the actual anxiety with noise phobias.  In fact sometimes, it could make your pet more fearful and reactive to the situation. This medication is no longer recommended as a first-line therapy for anxiety and noise phobias.  However when behavior modifications, nutraceuticals, and anxiolytic medications fail then it may be time to use this tranquilizer.  This medication will help control vomiting as well so if your dog vomits in response to firework situations then this medication may be appropriate or another anti-emetic medication can be prescribed by your veterinarian.
  9. Collars, ID tags, and microchips. If all of the above fail and your pet does manage to get free and run away, make sure they have proper and up to date identification with your contact information so you can be quickly reunited. Microchips are a permanent identification that is placed under the animal’s skin so in the event if the pet’s collar or ID tag fall off or are not on your pet when they escape they can still be properly identified and returned safely home.

We hope this helps you and your pets to enjoy a safe and Happy 4th of July!

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding your pet’s health or behavior, don’t hesitate to ask us. We are here to help!

Information for this blog post was gathered from the following websites: http://drmartybecker.com, http://throughadogsear.co/, www.thundershirt.com, www.feliway.com, www.adaptil.com, and the Fear Free certification program offered through www.Vetfolio.com.

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Fear Free – Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital Visits

Fear Free – Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital Visits

Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital – Fear is a behavior in all of us that is a hardwired response caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.  Unfortunately, being afraid or fearful of a veterinary examination or procedure has become the new “normal” or something most pet owners come to expect. 

Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital

Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital

In a recent study by Bayer Veterinary Healthcare 26% of dog owners and 38% of cat owners said that just thinking about going to the vet was stressful.

Any time your pet feels threatened, real or imagined, changes occur immediately within his or her body to prepare for that hardwired response call fight or flight.  Your pet’s nervous system releases a variety of stress hormones that have profound effects on different systems in the body.  Acute or sudden stress may result in fatigue, hypertension, gastrointestinal distress, immune dysfunction and impaired disease resistance.  Chronic stress can even lead to structural and functional changes in the brain, and, when extreme conditions persist, permanent damage can result.  In addition, when your pet is under stress, the memories of any events occurring during that time will be very powerful, and how your pet is handled during veterinary visits may have long-standing consequences for our future ability to handle him or her.

We may not change your pet’s behavior during their next veterinary visit but our team with your help will be watching your pet for subtle signs of fear or anxiety.  Anything we do to relieve the stress of the visit will pay off in future visits being less difficult for your pet. Remember that frequent, distressing experiences can negatively impact an animal’s overall health and well-being.   Also, by continuing with a procedure when an animal is showing signs of anxiety, we are teaching the animal that its normal means of communication is meaningless.  If we identify signs of fear, especially during elective procedures, we may reschedule your pet’s visit when it is less stressed.  Future visits could include giving medications to decrease anxiety or training sessions that make your next visit more productive and even fun!
4 Simple Steps to a Fear Free Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital Visit at Deerfield Veterinary Hospital

  1. Plan frequent visits to our veterinary practice just for fun, especially if your pet is fearful.  It’s best for you to visit during a quiet part of the day, such as mid-afternoons.   Call our practice and check to see if it’s a good, relaxing time so your pet enjoys a calm experience and the veterinary team can focus on you and your pet.
  2. Meet our caring team.  You can stop by to greet our receptionist, who can serve up a tasty treat for your pet. Our highly trained veterinary team can even perform a training session in an exam room to create fun, friendly associations with the practice.
  3. Keep it fun. Plan your practice visits in low-stress situations before your pet needs care by visiting our parking lot, lobby and exam room so they’re familiar places. Use play and trick training  to make the experience full of pleasurable activities. Your pet will learn to associate good things with the veterinary hospital. Rather than being afraid, they learn to relax.
  4. Talk to us.   We’re here to help. Our veterinary team looks forward to working with you to create a better visit with your dog or cat. If you need extra help to prepare for a visit, please call us and we can offer guidance to make visits relaxing and fun.

Download the Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital Infographic – click here

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