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Fear Free Veterinary Visits

What is Fear Free handling and how does it change my pet’s visit?

Here at Left Hand Animal Hospital, all of us, including reception staff, nurse-technicians, and doctors are trained in Fear Free/low stress handling techniques for your animals. We limit time for you and your pet in our waiting area, allowing you and your pet to settle into a comfortable exam room more rapidly. We offer catnip, toys, and snacks for cats, as well as pheromones and comfy cat beds to calm them. Our dog friends are invited to play with toys from the toy bins and have squishy dog beds to snuggle. Pets are generally examined where they are most comfortable, whether it is on a pet bed or on the floor or on a lap. Most exams are done with toys and snacks and lots of praise; in fact, you and your pet may not even notice that the doctor is checking your pet’s lungs, heart, lymph nodes, joints, and whole body health. Blood draws are done with Fear Free handling techniques, and vaccinations and treatments are done with snacks and toys.

If your pet has to stay with us in the hospital, we will provide a comfortable bed, blankets, and a soft toy for him or her to cuddle. If you wish, bring your pet’s favorite cuddle toy, as it helps remind him or her of home. If you wish, bring your pet’s food from home; otherwise, we will provide snacks and meals.

All of this means that we spend a bit more time with each patient. Your appointment will be scheduled to provide for this time. Please feel free to arrive a few minutes before your scheduled exam to allow your animal time to relax before the nurse-technician starts your exam. Please limit feeding before your appointment so that we can use snacks to enhance your pet’s visit. Ask for toys and snacks for your pet, or, please feel free to bring your pet’s favorite snack or toy with him or her. We may have music designed specifically to calm your pet playing in your exam room.

If your pet is anxious at the vet, please let us know before your appointment so that we can suggest supplements to ease your pet’s stress. We may ask you to pick up supplements, medications, pheromone sprays or Thundershirts before your visit to use for your pet before his or her visit. If you have questions about how to make your pet’s carrier or car ride to the vet less worrisome, please ask our knowledgeable staff.

If your pet is exhibiting signs of extreme worry during your visit, we will try to soothe your pet. You may be able to help us by telling what helps your pet feel relaxed. If needed, we will ask your pet to take anti-anxiety medications and return at another time. We are here to help make your pet’s visit as stress less as possible.

We hope your pet’s visit with us will be fun, relaxing, and helpful to your pet’s whole body health!

Happy Visits

Happy Visits are a trust building service we provide for our patients to decrease, or keep them from becoming, fearful of veterinary visits. During our happy visits, we avoid any potentially stressful events such as needle pokes, temperature taking, or restricting their movement such as they would experience during a traditional vet visit.

Generally, these upbeat visits consist of large quantities of Easy Cheese, peanut butter, and squeaky toys but this can be anything that is considered “the best” from your dog’s perspective. The trust we build with your pet during these frequent sessions can be used later on to desensitize them to things they find stressful such as nail trims, vaccinations, and restraint.

Before starting a Happy Visit the veterinary staff will judge your pet’s comfort level. Depending on what your pet is comfortable with, we may walk them around this hospital, visit exam rooms, or play in the backyard! Hopefully we will do a little more at each session than the previous one until your pet is comfortable being in the veterinary hospital. Like most training sessions, Happy Visits are recommended in frequent, short sessions to keep your dog focused and from becoming overstimulated or bored. Visits typically last about 10-20 minutes and are recommended as frequently as is convenient for you, typically weekly to monthly.


Pre-visit Questionnaire


Free Veterinary Visits:

 Fear Free Dog and Puppy Resources:

Fear Free Cat and Kitten Resources: