Last week I told you how “Happy Visits” can help your anxious pet. But, what can you expect to happen?
- The first thing to remember is that a Happy visit is designed to be well, happy! These visits are short and can take time to see dramatic progress depending on the Fear, Anxiety, and Stress (FAS) signs your pet is showing at the clinic.
- Ideally most of the time we recommend to bring your pet in 1-2 times per week (more is never wrong either!) Having multiple short positive visits can help to speed up the progress of your pet.
- Please bring your pets HUNGRY. This is huge, especially if your pet is fed free choice. If that is the case, pick up the food at least 2 hours prior to the visit. One of our best tools is to offer tasty smelly, even stinky treats. Coming in hungry makes them more eager to take treats from us so, then can learn and form a bond with us. We offer a variety and can do special diet requests. In fact, we encourage you to bring in a very special treat that you know your pet loves.
- Speaking of treats, we feed a lot of them during the visit. So it’s best to use treats that can be broken apart into very small pieces so we don’t make them sick! Feeding small treats very frequently also helps to encourage good behaviors.
- Please give any pre-visit medication as directed by the veterinary team. Sometimes we need to start with anti-anxiety medications (either prescription or more mild, natural medications) until your pet has started to have very positive experiences and shows less signs of stress. Not every pet will need this before a visit.
- We always end on a positive note! This is the way we set your pet up for success at the veterinary clinic! Each visit is tailored and documented specifically for your pet. Please do not get discouraged if all we get to do is feed treats on the table. For some patients this is a HUGE success!
- Sometimes we do the best we can yet ultimately recommend sedation. In that case, we structure happy visits towards accepting an injection of sedatives. This can be discouraging as a pet owner, but remember our ultimate goal is to provide the best care physically and mentally to your furry friend. Sedation can help us to sometimes get a more through exam on your pet, especially if there are urgent concerns to address.
If we have recommended happy visits for your pet or if you feel your pet can benefit from them, please contact Oakview Vet! We want to see your pets excited to see us!
by Emily Karpinski, CVT
Emily earned her Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology at Madison Area Technical College and joined us as a CVT in 2004. She shares her home with her husband Jaime, daughters Violet and Abigail, a black lab called Clyde, Chloe the cat, and 3 horses named Nikki, Cody and Poppy.
She has a strong interest in animal behavior. Emily is certified in Fear Free handling and experienced in low stress techniques. She is a member of the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians.