Join the Fear Free Pets Community. This resource has excellent information for stress free veterinary visits and managing behavioral challenges.
Review the Fear, Anxiety and Stress Ladder
Review the Fear, Anxiety and Stress Scale so that you can advocate for your pet when the FAS level has risen too high.
Discuss with your primary care veterinarian that your goal is to make every vet visit low stress. What this means:
Evaluating Wants vs. Needs:
Many of the things we do in veterinary medicine are not essentials that need to be done the day of an appointment unless there is a life-threatening emergency occurring.
This affords us the ability to allow your pet to be an active participant in handling process. If we, as veterinary professionals, do our jobs well, we can keep the FAS level low.
If things are not going well, it is important for all parties to recognize that your pet is struggling mentally, and abort the plan for that day.
If your pet's FAS level is at a 4 or 5, interactions should be discontinued and a new plan put in place to attempt again another day.
If we have a Need that day and your pet’s FAS level is a 4 or a 5, sedation should be discussed in order to accomplish that task without undue stress.
Always call the veterinary office from the parking lot upon arrival to check in, and request to wait in your car until your pet can be taken straight into an exam room.
Request that your veterinarian have everything ready to complete the exam and planned diagnostics ready - and that both the veterinarian and the technician be ready and waiting in the exam room when you enter. This will help to prevent anxiety related to staff entering and exiting the room.