Fear Free Dogs
At Harbor Point Animal Hospital, we are passionate about creating an environment where you and your beloved pet feel comfortable. We believe in fear-free veterinary visits and strive to minimize the stress involved for both you and your companion. Our team will partner with you to make sure your pet feels comfortable throughout the entire experience. Read more to find out how you can play a role in minimizing your pet’s stress level during the veterinary visit.
Our Commitment to Comfort
Minimizing stress in the lobby
We know dogs get anxious waiting around in the lobby. We offer call-ahead check in to avoid wait times– we will escort you straight to the exam room. We also offer check out services in the exam room to reduce the amount of time your dog spends in the lobby.
Our exam rooms are tailored to delight all of your dog’s senses. We have comfortable dog beds in place on the floor to help make your dog feel right at home. When the nurse comes in the room, she will give your dog a peanut butter- filled treat to enjoy while he waits. You won’t notice the pheromone diffusers in the room, but your dog will! These act as a natural calming agent. We play music specifically designed to reduce anxiety in dogs. Most pups feel more comfortable in the exam room with their owners – we will do our best to perform all vaccines and blood work in the exam room to help reduce any anxiety your dog may feel.
How You Can Help
The dreaded car ride
Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the vet’s. Aim to leave the house 10 minutes earlier than you think you’d need to get there and prepare everything for your trip several hours in advance (the night before is great, if possible and practical). Not only will this help you minimize your own stress, but it’ll also help you drive safely and with minimal erratic stops and starts, which could otherwise contribute to your dog’s anxiety and car sickness
Safely restrain your dog within the car for the trip to (and from) the vet’s office. This isn’t only a safety issue (for everybody), but it can also help your dog feel more secure and decrease the anxiety they may feel during car travel.
Spray Adaptil, a calming pheromone for dogs, into your dog’s carrier and on the seat in your car
Please bring a stool sample to each wellness appointment. Your dog will thank you!
Plan to bring your dog to Harbor Point for happy visits – no needles, no temperatures – just treats and attention. This can help break the association of the vet’s office with stress. This works best if you start when your pup is very young! But it’s not too late if your dog is older!
Book one of the earlier morning appointment slots with your vet, this way they’re less likely to be running behind and your wait will likely be minimized. (If your wait is to be delayed, and as long as it isn’t too hot or cold outside, consider waiting in the car with your dog until your vet’s team can put you directly in an exam room).
For dogs that get particularly stressed during trips to the vet, continue doing the above but also talk to your veterinarian about possible pre-visit sedation options you can administer at home.