We are SO EXCITED to announce that our very own RVT, Tessa, is now certified in Low-Stress Handling!!! This is as exciting for our patients as it is for us because we now have even more ways to make sure your pet's vet visit is as easy as can be! Tessa wanted to tell you all about it, so without furr-ther ado...
Hey guys! My name is Tessa, I’m a Registered Technician here at the Elmsdale Animal Hospital. I love learning about new and improved ways to care for not only our hospitalized patients, but for every pet that comes through our door! I recently had the opportunity to become certified in Low Stress Handling, a course that was taught by the late Dr. Sophia Yin, a pioneer in reducing stress at the vet. Low stress handling in the hospital setting can be difficult to achieve but is a useful tool to make you and your pet’s experience with us much more enjoyable.
Low-stress appointments can begin before you walk through our doors. There are anti-anxiety supplements and medications that you can pick up for your pet if you think they are going to be stressed. We encourage you to bring your pets to the vet hungry because if we can get them to eat, we can get their mind set to a happy place which in turn will begin to lower their anxiety.
Next, we work on making your dog comfortable in the clinic. This includes finding what your dog considers to be a reward and using that when we can; for example: treats, petting or something as little as saying “good boy!”.
Why is low stress handling important? We want the vet clinic to be a safe place for your pet. If your pet is comfortable, the veterinarians will be able to do their job more efficiently and safely. Likewise, we want you as an owner to be able to relax knowing your fur babies are being cared for and handled in the least stressful way possible. Almost all animals need to visit the veterinarian at some point in their lives. This is when low stress handling can be helpful in making the decision to bring your pet in a little bit easier. We want to do everything we can to make your pet feel more comfortable and relaxed because when they are happy so are we!
The relationship between humans and dogs has been evolving for thousands of years. They have become part of our families; often being referred to as “fur-kids” by their owners. We have invited them into our homes, cars and sometimes even jobs. This is why when one of our trusted companions bites someone, we are shocked! Sadly, the majority of these incidents involve children.
In order to really respect a dog as part of our family, we have to be able to communicate with them effectively. This doesn’t just mean dogs obeying our commands, but also us humans understanding what they are trying to say. Since dogs can’t speak, we have to rely on their body language. Recognizing when a dog is overly excited or afraid is critical when they are interacting with children. When a dog is overstimulated, they are much more likely to bite.
While it is important for adults to be able to read a dog’s body language, it is a difficult thing for children to understand. For that reason, children should NEVER be left alone with a dog, even one they’ve known their whole lives. Even the most patient, well behaved dogs can reach their breaking points. Children must be taught how to respect a dog’s personal space. You wouldn’t let your children climb all over company or pull on grandma’s ears because it's rude. The same rules should apply to your dog.
Dr. Juanita Ashton, BSc, DVM, ACDBC-IAABC is a certified Canine Behavioural Consultant, and one of the owners of the Elmsdale Animal Hospital