Let’s face it. Not all pets like going to the vet. Despite all the things we do to try to alleviate stress and fear, some of our patients still are very anxious about visiting us. Some pant, some shake, some hide under their owner’s legs. Some even growl. It’s ok. We don’t take it personally. And believe it or not, we don’t love your pet any less because of it. But it does make it more difficult to do our jobs and in some cases, it impacts the quality of the services we are able to provide for your pet. What does that mean?
Glad you asked.
Imagine trying to listen to “Ninja” the cat’s heart and lungs while she’s growling and swatting at you the entire time. Tricky at best, right? Or when you bring “Fido” in for his nail trim and he won’t hold still so instead of that perfect mani and pedi we pride ourselves on providing, we are only able to trim the very tips of 75% of his nails and each nail takes 15 minutes to trim (so your quick 10 minute visit turned into a half day ordeal).
Do you see where we are going with this?
An anxious or highly stressed pet may not receive the same top quality services as a calm patient despite our very best efforts.
We constantly are working very hard to maintain a fear free environment and to make your pets visit, and your visit, as calm and comfortable as possible. We provide treats, warm towels, pheromones, and in some cases even talk (or sing!) in our best calming voices, but despite all of our efforts, some patients need natural supplements and/or medications. Yes. We said it. DRUGS.
Now stay with us here….
No one wants to give medications when they aren’t needed but sometimes they simply are necessary. Medications can make a pet’s experience more enjoyable, or at the very least more tolerable, and let’s face it, sometimes they are absolutely essential. In some cases we are simply unable to complete crucial parts of a pet’s visit without them. Medications help pets relax, alleviate their stress and fear and help us provide the medical care they need without having to heavily restrain (and therefore cause more stress) to our patients. In fact, in many cases medications are discontinued after several positive visits where the pet learns that the vet office isn’t a scary place.
Some pets are only fearful for certain components of their visits: vaccines, having their blood drawn or getting their nails trimmed for example. Other pets start shaking before even walking through the door. We evaluate what’s required at an upcoming appointment and what your pets fear level/score is for those services to help your DePorre Veterinarian determine what type of supplement or medication may be helpful for your pet.
DePorre’s pharmacy can dispense natural herbal supplements like Solliquil and Composure chews. These supplements are beneficial in cases of mild stress and anxiety and provide a more natural approach to managing fear and stress in our patients. Zylkene is an amino acid supplement which compliments the above chews nicely. Many of our patients use a combination of the chews and the Zylkene capsules to help cope with daily stresses at home (such as storms, fireworks, separation) as well.
Dogs and cats rely quite a bit on their sense of smell and pheromones are a large part of how they perceive the overall safety of their environment. We implement pheromone plug ins and sprays during your pets visits with us but spraying your cats blanket/towel with Feliway spray before leaving the house, or spraying your dog’s collar/bandana with Dog Appeasing pheromone (D.A.P.) or applying a monthly Adaptil collar for easily stressed dogs can be a lifesaver in some cases. Thunder shirts provide a calming “swaddle” effect especially for pets with noise phobias and calming caps help soothe patients who may be overwhelmed by a busy environment like the vet hospital.
When stress levels are particularly high, or when pets are only anxious in specific situations like fireworks, storms or the dreaded vet visits, medications may be your best friend’s best friend (and thus, yours too!). Medications like trazodone, gabapentin, Valium or Xanax may be prescribed for your pet, and guess what? It’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. Based on the response of your pet, doses may be adjusted or combination therapy may be implemented.
So talk to your DePorre veterinarian about what may be best for your pet and help us continue to provide the highest quality care and the most stress-free visits to that adorable furry friend in your life!