Fear-Free: The snuggles edition

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Pets only calm down and relax when you make the veterinary hospital feel like home sweet home.

Favorite blankets and something to warm them (like the K+H Microwavable Pet Bed Warmer above) can calm cats and dogs in exam rooms, treatment areas and housing. (Photo: Mikkel Becker)You know that dogs and cats feel more relaxed and calm during the wait, exam and procedures when they're in an area that feels comfortable and secure. Here are three client-bonding, patient-friendly, low-cost, Fear-Free ways to make that happen.

Look, it's your blankie!

Encourage and congratulate pet owners when they bring comfort items from home, like the cat's well-scratched blanket and the dog's well-gnawed stuffed animal. It's even better when the item creates a safe space on its own, like the good-smelling bed or the typically treat-filled crate from home. Favorite items and portable spots like that integrate a dog or cat's comfort zone into the hospital setting.

When the safe space is even safer

Whether clients are bringing them from home or you're supplying them at the clinic, go for mats and beds with a non-slip bottom for more secure seats on slick floors and tables. If the animal already has a positive association with spaces with non-slip material (mat training for dogs and crate training for cats), it's actually a reward for patients to go to this area and offers them a clear direction for where to go when they're uncertain.

Maximum snuggles

Using towel or blanket warmers in exam rooms and treatment areas is also inviting and relaxing for many animals. Oftentimes, the warm, snuggly items can even be clamped and secured onto tables or placed on or into something made of a more anti-slip material.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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