We use Fear Free® calming methods at Firehouse. We thought we’d take a moment to explain more about these tactics so you can see how they benefit your cat or dog.

You might hear us talking about “Fear Free®” a lot at Firehouse. That’s because we’ve found that these methods are the best ways to calm scared, anxious, or stressed cats and dogs. While not all pets display these symptoms at Firehouse, many do!

Ninety percent of our team members are specially trained in the Fear Free® philosophy, a new way of approaching pet care and taught through eight hours of online classes and continuing education each year.

We usher cats through the check-in process and into our exam rooms as quickly as possible, knowing cats don’t always like the sights and sounds of our lobby. We often keep cats in their carriers until they’re settled and if it helps, we can cover their carrier with a towel. Some cats are calmed by Feliway®, a cat pheromone that calms nervous cats. Other cats prefer to stay in their carriers throughout the entire visit or enjoy our nesting boxes we supply for them. Either way, our veterinary technicians and doctors work with cat parents to keep their kitten or cat as happy as can be. We use canned chicken, tuna, or squeeze cheese as distractions during check-ups. We also use toys such as laser pointers and catnip to calm cats during their visit.

For dogs, you might have noticed our Client Service Coordinators bringing treats around the front desk to greet a nervous dog calmly and gently. Our veterinary technicians speak quietly and move slowly if they notice puppies or dogs are afraid. Our team sits on the floor with stressed dogs and use soft, gentle touch before beginning the exam. We often distract anxious dogs with peanut butter or cheese while vaccinating them or when doing other routine check-ups.

Some pet parents avoid the veterinarian knowing their cat or dog is nervous in the car or stimulated by the sights, sounds, and smells of the hospital, but we can help you avoid this

We are always happy to offer you and your pet special care! Please do not hesitate to call us ahead of time and we’ll make accommodations for you and your pet. We aim to offer you the best experience when visiting Firehouse. Call today to speak with one of our doctors or set up an appointment.

Watch the video below to see Dr Mendoza examine an entire litter of kittens in their canvas carrier (skip to minute 3:25 for this part)! This was filmed in September 2019 pre-COVID. Now we wear masks all day and practice social distancing from people in the hospital, but still show the same care and patience with our animals.

Additional Resources:
– Fear Free®: https://fearfreepets.com/
– Fun enrichment for cats: https://www.adventurecats.org/
– Enrichment for indoor cats: https://indoorpet.osu.edu/
– Feliway®: https://www.feliway.com/us