By Dr. Deana McReynolds
I’d like to introduce myself to you. I’m Dr. Deana McReynolds, associate veterinarian at Wilderness Animal Hospital. I’ve been given the (dubious) honor to take over the writing of this monthly article from the great Dr. Melanie McCoury, who’s moving on up to bigger and better things. I know I have big shoes to fill, and hope you enjoy it.
Dr. Melanie and I share a passion for fear free veterinary experiences for our patients. As you know, we have been working hard to make a trip to our hospital something fun for your pets. We understand that one of the biggest challenges is getting your pet through the door. One of the first things you may notice when you come in is that we offer calming pheromone (Adaptil) sprayed bandanas for our dog patients. Besides being super cute (thanks, Mama De’s!), they can often make the anxious pet a little more relaxed. We have pheromone (Feliway) sprayed towels to drape over the cat carriers in the waiting room and available in the rooms for cats to hide under for the exams as well. Both of these products can be purchased for at home use as well. You will also notice that we have a variety of treats available for both dogs and cats – who knew that cats love spray cheese? We find that we can often distract your pet with treats and they don’t notice the exam, the temperature being taken or even the vaccines! I often wish that my doctor would take this approach – I’d tolerate a lot of things if I can have chocolate treats!
For cat owned people, it can be especially challenging to get your cat into the carrier. There are a few things you can do at home to help. First, select a carrier that is hard plastic, that we can easily take the top off. Keep the carrier out all the time, so Fluffy can acclimate to it. At first, you can have the top off, line it with comfortable bedding and spray it with Feliway. You can feed Precious in it or give treats in the crate so we associate good things with the crate. Gradually, you can put the top on, but leave the gate open (or off). Let it be a place of relaxation for Powderpuff. Eventually, you can occasionally close the gate when Mortimer is in the carrier for short periods of time, praising and treating Princess when done. Once Gomer is using the crate regularly, try picking up the carrier and transporting Dumpling around the house. Eventually, you can take Sugar Lips in to the car for a few minutes and back in the house. The next day, you can take Humphrey into the car and start the car without going anywhere, and eventually take short trips. While Cuddle Umpkins is in the car, play soft music and speak softly, reassuring them. You can also cover the carrier with a Feliway sprayed towel. Visit our website for helpful (and humorous) videos. Both Feliway and Adaptil can be purchased at our hospital or on our on-line pharmacy.
Hope you enjoyed my first article and look forward to seeing you at Wilderness Animal Hospital.