The Fear-Free™ initiative, promotes practices, methods, and tools that calm veterinary patients and help to create low-stress environments that lead to a reduction or removal of anxiety triggers which is safer and more rewarding for everyone involved. Fear-Free™ visits help take the “pet” out of “petrified”. The end result? Calmer, more receptive patients, and better veterinary care.
Dr. Marsig recently became Fear-Free™ Certified so that we at the Animal Hospital of Unionville can continue to focus on promoting a considerate approach to veterinary care and gentle control techniques in a calming environment. There are many different aspects to becoming Fear-Free™ Certified. One of which is learning about body language, learning theory, stress response and behavior modification. As an example this helps us identify the factors that cause patient stress, recognize the signs through body language and implement positive reinforcement techniques to reduce that stress. All of these are important to recognize how patients perception affects their behavior.
The start of a Fear-Free™ visit to your veterinarian in Markham begins at home. It is important to learn how to help reduce stress for your furry family members by creating positive transport experiences so that we can get them to and from their visit with as little fear and anxiety as possible. Things like leaving your cat’s carrier out all the time so your cat sees it as a safe zone rather than just a “carrier for transport” or getting your dog used to his “seat belt” prior to his visit are both things that can help reduce anxiety for your pets when they have to travel. Some pets may benefit from using calming pheromones or calming nutraceuticals. In more severe cases it is possible to get prescription anxiolytic medication that would be administered before they leave home. Lastly, if it is close to feeding time, limit the amount of food you are giving to your pet so that treats given during their visit with your veterinarian in Markham are more effective. You may even consider bringing in some of their favorites from home.
Once you have arrived there are various things we can do to help make your visit less stressful for you and your furry friend. Some cats for example, once comfortable in their carrier prefer a blanket to cover the carrier to help keep them calm. Some dogs may prefer to stay in the car right until they are ready to be seen rather than waiting in the waiting room, especially if there are other patients waiting. In this case please feel free to check-in for your visit with the veterinarians in Markham on your own and then once it is time to go into an exam room we can get your furry friend from the car. Even spending a little extra time in the exam room on their own with their family, breathing in some calming pheromones prior to seeing the nurse can help calm our pets. Our staff is very conscious of handling techniques, how to move around, talk to and touch your furry family members, thereby enhancing the exam room experience to create an effective Fear-Free™ visit for all involved.
Even a very fearful pet can be taught to tolerate procedures with time and effort. Consider coming in for “happy visits” or desensitization exercises to prepare them for future handling with less anxiety. It is important for us as caregivers and you as your pet’s family to always start by looking after you pet’s emotional well-being. Only after we are confident the pet is calm or we’ve administered a sedative that has taken effect would we want to continue with your pet’s exam or procedure. That is, first we look after your pet’s emotional well-being and then its physical well-being.
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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham
Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.
Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).
Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.