Go for fear-free in your veterinary practice

Go for fear-free in your veterinary practice

A trip to the veterinarian can be a scary experience for pets—and their owners. Turn it into a positive one by focusing on animal behavior and catering to pets' needs.
Jul 01, 2013
By dvm360.com staff

Let’s face facts—many people have come to associate the veterinary hospital as a place where fear and pain are front and center for their beloved pets. And if they think the visit will be too hard on their pet, too hard on them or both, it could be a potential deal-breaker for them—and bond-breaker for you.

That’s where you, the veterinarian, come in. Fear and pain don’t have to go hand in hand with a trip to your hospital—you just have to make your practice a fear-free one.

Here are a few easy steps you can take to build a practice that’s pet friendlier:

> Understand animal behavior. Get down on the floor and see your practice as your patients see it. Carry treats and use them generously. Examine a cat in her owner’s lap, not on a cold exam room table. A few small tweaks to the way you approach and handle your patients can make all the difference.

> Create a pet-centered practice. Make your practice one where the animals come first—their comfort and emotions count just as much as the veterinarians’ and technicians’ comfort and emotions. Organize your practice to be compassionate to the animals—first and foremost.

> Practice as if the pet owner is watching. Pretend the client—who feels exactly what her cat or dog feels—is there looking over your shoulder all the time. Whether you’re in the exam room with a pet owner or in a treatment room with staff, consider this at all times.

Hot topics on dvm360

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

The war between shelters, veterinarians needs to end

Despite practitioners’ legitimate gripes, they’re hurting themselves.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.