Tip: Let low-stress win

Tip: Let low-stress win

When Immovable Weight-Loss Diet meets Unstoppable Frightened Pet in the veterinary exam room, this young associate worries about calm before calories.

Getty ImagesTreating pets to a low-stress visit to your veterinary practice sounds great. And treats are a big part of that. (Check out pics of Sweetie’s nail clipping turned happy with the help of Cheerios and squeeze cheese.)

But what happens when the cat or dog is overweight and the high-value treat—the one that snags the patient’s attention and gets the saliva dripping—is chock-full of calories?

That’s gonna take some explaining, says Nichole Olp, DVM, an associate at Bigger Road Veterinary Center in Springboro, Ohio, who’s focused on calming down patients and teaching them that there’s nothing (well, less) to fear at the veterinary hospital.

“An owner of a dog that’s overweight might say, ‘Look, I’ve been trying to watch my dog’s weight,’” Olp says. “So I let them know we want to make sure the dog is really happy and knows this is a good place for the dog to be.” She explains that she’s not giving “a ton of food” and that this is not an everyday occurrence.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be gobs of Braunschweiger thrown on the floor for them to be eating."
— Nichole Olp, DVM

“I even thank them for yelling at me about it, because it means [the client] is being good about [watching the pet’s weight at home],” Dr. Olp says.

Think about it: The happier dog isn’t howling or crying or wedging itself into the corner of the exam room. That’s gotta' be worth a few calories in the grand scheme of things.

Bonus tip: What if the problem is a potential upset stomach and vomiting and diarrhea later on with all those tasty treats? “Get a can of GI-friendly canned food, and the cat or dog will go home happier and full,” Olp says. “Sure, they might not eat dinner that night, but you’re not going to get a dog that gets sick just from eating too much at the clinic.”

Get the low-stress lowdown from Dr. Olp in this video.