Fear Free and older pets

January 3, 2019
Marty Becker, DVM
Marty Becker, DVM

Veterinary Economics Practice Leadership Editor and Fetch dvm360 conference speaker Dr. Marty Becker is author of The Healing Power of Pets: Harnessing the Amazing Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy and the resident veterinarian on The Dr. Oz Show. (He was the resident veterinarian for Good Morning America for 17 years.) As a veterinarian, media personality, author, lecturer, educator, contributor, and recipient of many prestigious awards, Dr. Marty Becker has become known as the best-loved family doctor for pets. Dr. Becker also practices at North Idaho Animal Hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Make the veterinary visit so great for these patients that 'the dog will drag the pet owner through the front door' the next time.

When it comes to treating older pets in the veterinary clinic, Fetch dvm360 conference speaker and Fear Free champion Marty Becker, DVM, says there is a problem: You just don't see these patients in great numbers. For a variety of reasons, pet owners think it's simply "old age" keeping pets from behaving the way they used to.

But Dr. Becker says these pets need to visit the vet-and the Fear Free is the way to go.

"We need to make it to where people know that they need to come in and that it's going to be something that is not stressful for this pet," he says.

Alright, how then? Dr. Becker says for one thing, it comes down to currency. And to a dog that can only mean food.

All things Fear Free:

"You have to have exceptional food treats," he says "especially for a dog whose senses may be dulled, like an older dog."

He suggests having high-value treats at the ready: Deli turkey, Braunschweiger and liver treats are examples that will win you a friend for life.

Dr. Becker says another option is a "chill pill." A neutraceutical may be just the right thing for stressed out patients.

Last, he says not to forget about sedation.

"A little trazodone for an anxious pet goes a long way into making it a friendly, Fear Free visit for both the pet and the pet owner," Dr. Becker says.

Watch the video for more.

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