At Lebanon Animal Hospital, we do things a little differently. As soon as your pet steps a paw through our door, she will be welcomed and cared for in a unique way to ensure she has a positive experience, from greeting to good-bye. By embracing low-stress methods and the Fear Free veterinary movement, we are making great strides toward reducing our patients’ fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS). These behaviors are so common among pets who are out of their element—such as a noisy veterinary clinic that’s packed with strange pets and people—that the acronym FAS was developed. We are working diligently to remove FAS from our hospital.
Our promise to you and your pet
Since most of our team is Fear Free certified, we have dedicated ourselves to ensuring every interaction with your beloved pet is positive. In addition to our veterinary and veterinary technician oaths, we pledge to do everything we can to help your pet feel more comfortable at our hospital, by taking the following steps:
- Evaluating each pet’s stress level
- Assessing each patient for hidden pain at every visit
- Recognizing anxiety triggers in our hospital, and avoiding or minimizing them
- Using individualized Fear Free handling methods for each pet
- Using appropriate drug therapy to maintain the safety and well-being of the pet, owner, and our team
- Improving your pet’s emotional health, in addition to her physical health, at every visit
At Lebanon Animal Hospital, we guarantee your pet—and you—will have a much more pleasant veterinary experience.
Our methods of treating your pet
To help ease your pet’s fear and encourage positive associations with our team and our hospital, we have implemented a variety of methods designed to reduce pets’ and their owners’ stress. While many animal hospitals fail to separate their feline and canine patients, we believe this is a key aspect of Fear Free veterinary care that makes a big difference in our patients. To reduce potentially frightening interactions between dogs and cats, such as a dog lunging at a cat carrier on the floor, or a howling dog boarding next to a cat recovering from anesthesia, we have divided our hospital into species-specific areas. For example, we have separate dog and cat lobbies to ensure the overly friendly pooch does not freak out our feline friend by trying to stick her nose in the carrier.
Other ways that we strive to promote a calm veterinary visit include:
- Adding noise-reducing features to our building
- Examining pets where they are most comfortable, whether it’s on the floor, in the carrier, or on the owner’s lap
- Giving cats time to come out of their carrier on their own, rather than forcibly pulling them out
- Covering our exam tables to grant traction and a cozy resting spot
- Using pheromone therapy for dogs and cats with sprays, diffusers, and wipes
- Doling out high-value treats, such as peanut butter and spray cheese, rather than boring dry biscuits
- Encouraging “happy visits” for all pets, where they simply come in for treats and pets with no unpleasant experiences
- Switching to basket muzzles stuffed with peanut butter for fearfully aggressive dogs
- Implementing a “less-is-more” handling strategy, especially for cats, who respond well to minimal restraint
- Using towels for cat restraint, rather than scruffing
While some of these methods may not seem like big changes, each small change combined can powerfully impact your pet’s emotional outlook, and help reduce her fear, anxiety, and stress.
Our “why” for a Fear Free hospital
Every person on our team began their career out of a desire to help animals, not frighten them, or cause undue stress through veterinary visits. By embracing Fear Free methods, we ensure more pets receive better veterinary care, with reduced fear, anxiety, and stress, since these emotional states can skew diagnostic testing results, and make an accurate diagnosis and correct treatment more difficult.
It’s also tough for you to bring your pet in for regular wellness exams if she’s nervous and afraid, which in turn prevents us from detecting illness and disease at the earliest possible stage. Without adequate preventive care, we can’t ensure your pet’s continued health and well-being.
To start on your own Fear Free path at home, sign up for the Fear Free Happy Homes newsletter, which will keep you in the loop on the latest and greatest in keeping your pet healthy. To see in person what a difference a Fear Free team using low-stress methods can make to your pet’s veterinary experience, call us to schedule an appointment.