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The Science of Fear Free

Veterinarian Visit Statistics

  • More than 75% of dogs and cats are stressed during a veterinary visit

  • For dogs, the most stressful procedures were rectal temperature (22 %) followed by blood collections, injections and ear exams

  • For cats, the most stressful procedures for cats are injections (34%) followed by rectal temperature, blood collection, wound treatment and ears

  • 58% of cat owners report their pets hate going to the veterinarian

  • 38% of dog owners report their pets hate going to the veterinarian

What Works?

Evidence shows that dogs are less fearful in an exam room than in the reception area or the treatment area. As well, owner contact is shown to decrease heart rate, temperature, and attempts to jump off the table. Separating pets from their owners can cause anxiety, however, keeping in mind that an anxious owner can also add to a pet’s fear and anxiety.

Positive experiences at the veterinary clinic results in pets being less fearful at subsequent visits. Cats that had fear free experiences including,

  • Gentle Handling,

  • Pheromones,

  • Taken directly into the exam room,

  • Allowed to exit their cage voluntarily,

  • And their owners present displayed no difference in heart rate, temperature, respiration or blood pressure between home visits and veterinary visits.

Why Medication Can Be an Asset?

Medication has been experimentally proven to help reduce fear and anxiety related to car rides and veterinary visits. Oral medication prior to veterinary visits, compared to manual restraint and injectable medication, resulted in improved cooperation and behavior.

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