Preparing Your Dog for an Appointment

Fear Free LogoWhat is Fear Free?

Founded in 2016, Fear Free is a certification program for Veterinary Professionals developed by hundreds of experts in behavior, medicine, and handling. The goal is to reduce or remove anxiety triggers that can cause pets to become fearful at home, in transport, and at the veterinary hospital. Reducing fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) for our patients makes the veterinary visit more comfortable for our patients, our clients, and our team.

Happy Visits

Coming to the veterinary hospital can be a stressful experience for your dog. There are new sights, smells, and people. One great way to help your dog become more comfortable with visits to the hospital is to stop by for happy visits. This is just a chance to bring your dog in lots of cookies. We do try to limit the number of animals in the reception area at any given time so please text or call to let us know you are here for a happy visit and we will let you know the lobby is clear and you can enter the building. Happy visits are great for getting a puppy off to a good start, but they can also really help older dogs build confidence. If you want to try doing happy visits but aren’t sure if it’s the right option for your dog give us a call and we can help you plan your next happy visit.

The day of your appointment

  • Hungry is good: If medically appropriate, reduce the amount of food your dog gets prior to their veterinary visit. This can help with nausea in the car and make treats during the veterinary visit more appealing.
  • Bring Treats: Bring lots of your dog’s favorite treats with you. Each treat should be small, no larger than half a pea in size, so cut or break treats if necessary. It is better to have too many treats than not enough.
  • Pheromones Help: Using calming pheromones, such as ThunderEase (previously called Adaptil), can help promote relaxation. Dogs are comforted by familiar smells using an item that smells like home, such as a favorite blanket, and adding a calming pheromone spray can help them feel more relaxed. When using a pheromone spray allow 10 to 15 minutes for the best effect.
  • Leave Early: Budget extra time to pack up and drive to Anchor for your appointment to avoid being rushed. If you are stressed, your dog will be too.
  • Music is your friend: Playing calming music, or music specifically designed for pets, at a low volume can help reduce stress in the car.
  • Temperature Matters: Make sure you pre-warm or pre-cool your car based on the season. This ensures your dog is comfortable and not stressed by a sudden temperature change.
  • How to transport the dog carrier: If you are using a dog carrier it is best to hold the carrier from the bottom at chest height, like you are holding a fragile package. This keeps the carrier more stable than holding it by the handle and keeps your dog feeling more comfortable. When you bring the carrier to your car the ideal location to put it is on the floorboards behind the passenger seat. This location is secure and minimizes visual stimulation which can cause FAS.
  • Ask us for specific recommendations for your dog! We are here to help you and your dog. Every dog is different and has their own needs. If your dog often vomits in the car or is anxious around new people or places, we may prescribe medication to give prior to their appointment.

Preparing for your appointment – Pre-Visit Questionnaire

To help us best prepare for your appointment please fill out the pre-visit questionnaire. Knowing what causes FAS in your cat helps us know the best way to reduce and prevent FAS.

FAS Ladder for Dogs

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Fear, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (FAS)

Most of our communication with our dog is through body language. It can be hard to recognize the subtle signs of FAS. Most people recognize the sever signs of FAS but it can be difficult to see the more subtle mild and moderate signs. Learning to detect these signs can help prevent mild stress from developing into severe stress.