For New Arrivals
Strategies for stress reduction
  • Create a quiet, comfortable area, designated for specific species
  • Post “Do not Disturb” signs to avoid sudden interruptions that can startle the animal
  • Cover cold exam tables with a towel or blanket, this also gives cats something to grab onto
  • Soft lighting, 60 vs. 200 watt bulbs is visually soothing
  • Use a “white noise” generator (e.g., to mask extraneous sounds
  • Place a feline and canine pheromone diffuser in exam rooms and treatment areas. You can also spray the pheromones on bedding and in carriers. Click here for more details on pheromone products, Feliway and D.A.P.
  • Admit nervous dogs through a side or back door to avoid the lobby, especially if they are not well-socialized
  • Cover each occupied cat carrier with a towel, and ensure it remains covered
  • Keep covered carriers on an elevated surface, off the floor
  • Allow the animal to become acquainted with the space, conducting much of your exam visually during this time
  • Allow the animal to get accustomed to you at their own pace. Rushing makes the situation more stressful for both the handler and animal
  • Speak using soft tones; use their name if known, and use familiar simple commands or words such as “good dog”
  • Use “low stress” handling techniques with the least amount of restraint necessary
  • If some animals such as cats or rabbits are anxious, you can reduce visual stimulation by covering the animal’s head with a towel during the exam and procedures
  • Have an abundance of varied treats available. For cats, a Popsicle stick or tongue depressor with a little canned food can help them cope with their new environment and situation
  • Wait at least 18 hours before performing the Feline-ality™ assessment so the cat has time to acclimate to new surroundings

Avoid the use of punishment or force with animals. Yelling, scolding, hitting, kicking, pinning to the ground, leash corrections, and shock collars quickly escalate stress and fear levels. These actions are guaranteed to create a negative emotional response, and may trigger some animals to display aggression.