Reducing Stress In Your Animal
Here at Fix Our Ferals, we’re always trying to learn and grow as a practice. As of this month, half of our full-time medical team are Fear Free Certified Professionals. That means they know how to create fear-free environments for the cats and dogs we serve.
Cats and dogs are much more sensitive than humans are; it’s all about considering things from their perspective, and adjusting! We’re working to adjust our clinic set-up based on what we’ve learned at the training. If you’d like to, some of the supplies we need to do so are on our Amazon Wishlist.
How to adjust Sights, Sounds, and Smells to reduce Fear, Anxiety, and Stress in your cat or dog!
- Adjust the lights. Animals are likely to respond better to natural lighting or LED bulbs than to fluorescent lights. Fluorescent lighting is more likely to flash or flicker, which can create visual disturbance and stress. Animals can see in much lower light than we can!
- Adjust your position. Comfort is based largely on nonverbal messages that are sent through your body language. Sitting on a chair or the floor by your animal (closer to their level), can be less threatening for some animals.
- Adjust your movement. Cats and dogs are very attuned to movement! Sudden or fast movements are more likely to cause alarm, so try moving slowly, especially if you’re being introduced to a new animal, or your animal happens to be particularly nervous.
- Reduce the volume in your environment. Remember, animals are much more sensitive to sound level than we are! If you want to reduce stress in an animal (ex: in the car on the way to the vet), a lower volume is more soothing!
- Mask sound. Are there certain sounds that you know stress your animal out? Play something else to mask the sound! For example, if you know vacuuming creates stress, play something soothing (classical music, audiobooks, a white noise machine) at the same time. That sound should be at a low volume (softly audible to us).
- Adjust artificial scents. Cats and dogs have senses of smell that are much more powerful than ours! Consider using non-scented or lightly-scented cleaners, hygiene products, and sprays (they should be labeled as such as the store). Avoid scents that might be used in deterrent products. For example: do you use an anti-chew spray that smells like sour apple? Then your green apple air freshener might stress your animal out!
- Provide familiar scents. Are you taking your animal on a trip? Whether to the vet or on an overnight trip, this can create stress for the animal. Bring along toys, blankets, or other items with familiar scents to comfort your animal!
Our thanks to Fear Free –– you can find more information about them on their website. And remember, if you want to help us create a better environment for the animals at our clinic, you can check out our Amazon Wishlist!