As an informed pet owner, you may have heard about a veterinary practice philosophy called “Fear Free.” Fear Free is an approach to practicing veterinary medicine that removes as much fear and discomfort for pets needing treatment (primarily cats and dogs) as possible.

Here at AERC, your pet’s comfort is very important to us. Below, we’ve listed several ways we go the extra mile to help ensure that your pet remains comfortable and less stressed while in our care.

  • Allowing your pet to remain in the exam room with you whenever possible instead of separating
  • Wrapping kitties firmly in towels (similar to swaddling a baby)
  • Use of Thundershirts, an anti-anxiety vest for dogs
  • Pheromone sprays like Feliway for kitties and DAP for dogs
  • Covering fronts of kennels with towels
  • Keeping cats far away from barking dogs or in cat-only wards
  • Cat caves, low stress environments for cats
  • Encouraging you to bring comfort items/food when appropriate

In addition, we understand how hard it is to have a pet that requires medical treatment. We believe in making you as comfortable as we can while you are with us! Below are some of the ways in which we show we care.

  • You will be invited to see where your pet will be staying once the pet is stable and more comfortable
  • We provide frequent updates on your pet’s condition
  • We provide snacks and beverages
  • If you cat is undergoing an extended stay for treatment of hyperthyroid disease, you can see him/her on a webcam from your home

Unfortunately, if your pet is being seen by our emergency and critical care service, there are also some things we cannot do because ultimately, your pet’s medical condition is more important than his temporary comfort. Below you can read more about those things, too!

We can’t allow you to be with your pet 100% of the time.

When your pet is “behind the scenes” receiving treatment, you will not be able to accompany him. Why not?

  • Blood and needles can make people woozy. Even if you’ve been around blood and needles before, it can be different when it’s your baby being treated. We would worry about you fainting!
  • If you are agitated and upset, your pet may respond likewise.
  • Trying to hold or comfort your pet puts you in between your pet and the people who need to perform medical procedures, like monitoring vital signs, placing catheters, or providing fluids or stabilizing medications.
  • If your pet is receiving treatment, we have really important work for you to do, too! It is critical that you provide us with your contact information, your pet’s age, breed, etc., and a complete history of the condition that has brought you to our clinic.

  • Your presence can actually interfere with the care and environment for other sick pets. Just as the presence of additional strangers and activity may cause your pet stress, your presence causes other pets stress. Therefore, we keep these distractions minimal to optimize care for all patients.
  • If your pet is receiving radiographs, we can’t allow you to be exposed to radiation.
  • If your pet is in surgery, we can’t allow you to be exposed to waste anesthetic gases.

We hope you understand! We’re not trying to “hide” anything from you, and don’t worry, it’s not personal! You wouldn’t be allowed in a human emergency treatment room if your child/partner/family member had suffered a trauma, for many of the same reasons.

Please feel free to ask any caregiver about your pet’s current condition and location within our hospital at any time.