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Does your animal companion get especially nervous when it comes to vet appointments? Do trips to the vet have you both feeling stressed out? At River City Veterinary Hospital, we recognize that visiting the vet can trigger anxiety in some pets.

Because each one of us is also a pet parent, it’s only natural for us to treat your loved one with a stress-free and gentle touch – just as if he or she were our very own furry family member. Furthermore, the staff at our Meridian vet clinic has received special training in low-stress and fear-free handling techniques.  We want to ensure that every single patient we serve feels safe, comfortable and at ease while in our care. In fact, we’re proud to say that we now have a doctor and hospital team that is all Fear Free Certified.

Why are fear-free visits so important?

Not only does fear and anxiety cause your pet to feel distressed, but it can also hinder our ability to deliver adequate medical care. When an animal is nervous, it can trigger a number of other physical and physiological symptoms. These reactions can mask the signs of true illness and make it difficult to identify and address health concerns properly. That’s why creating an atmosphere that is calm and balanced is in everyone’s best interest.

What makes a doctor and hospital team fear-free?

There are a lot of things at the veterinarian’s office that can make a pet feel nervous. From sights and sounds of other animals to unfamiliar scents and unchartered territory, it can be a downright frightening experience – especially for nervous pets. At River City Vet, we’ve taken measures to eliminate (or at least limit) the number of factors that might cause stress to a companion animal.

First, we minimize the amount of time stressed pets have to spend in the waiting area. We want to get you and your best friend into a quiet exam room as soon as possible. Before we even begin working with a patient, we always take as much time as necessary to help him or her feel at ease. Dogs are allowed to investigate the room and become more comfortable in the transition to seeing the veterinary technician. Cats can relax in their carriers and become used to the sounds and smells in the room.

Next, we take certain measures to ensure that the very atmosphere of our clinic supports a calm, stress-free patient experience. For instance, soothing pheromones are used and calming music is played to ease tension and promote comfort and relaxation.  Our clinic also features a cat-only room for our feline patients to reduce the stress that can often be experienced when dogs are around.

Professional Training, Proven Results

Our entire staff has been professionally trained in Fear Free and Low Stress Handling techniques pioneered by Dr. Sophia Yin, a renowned veterinary behaviorist.  We are also a Gold Level Cat Friendly Certified Practice, and all of our team members have been trained by the Dog Gurus. This extensive training has taught us how to interact with and handle pets in a way that is the least stressful to them.

In the exam room, pets are examined wherever they feel most at ease – whether on the table, on the floor or right in their carrier. Treats are offered (if medically ok), topical pain medications are used and non-slip exam tables also help reduce stress from cold, slippery surfaces. We keep notes on what things make your pet the most comfortable, such as which treats they prefer, where they like to be examined, and how they prefer to be handled.  Keeping these preferences in mind allows us to make each visit and as pleasant as possible for your loved one.

Some pets may benefit from being given an anti-anxiety medication prior to their visit if we know from previous visits that this would help.  When necessary, your pet can be sedated if we feel the exam or procedure will cause too much stress. Hopefully, with each happy visit, the need for anti-anxiety medication and sedation may become less necessary and eventually not be needed at all.

If your animal family member hates going to the vet (making you dread it too), our Fear Free care might be just the thing. Give us a call today at 208-888-7300 and let’s discuss how we can help make your pet’s next appointment a positive, stress-free experience for everyone!