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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.