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Our low stress, fear free approach to vet care

Our team is fully trained in low-stress and fear-free techniques to provide low-stress care for your pet. We use calming techniques and emphasize low-stress handling to provide the most positive experience for your cat or dog.
During your visit, we watch out for any signs of stress. If despite our gentle handling techniques, we’re unable to perform a procedure safely, we look at rescheduling the appointment and what we can do differently at the next visit.
Depending on the individual patient, we may give you recommendations that range from treats as a motivator to a mild sedative drug given several hours before a visit, to full injectable sedation.

Fear Free Pre-Visit Questionnaire

Knowing your pet’s potential motivators and stressors ahead of time is helpful in ensuring a positive visit for your pet. Please fill out the pre-visit questionnaire to help us be best-prepared to greet your pet.


If your pet is coming in for a non-surgical visit, please prep for the following:


  • Arrive hungry! If your pet normally eats a meal before our appointment time, feed a small amount instead (an hour or more before) or withhold it all together (less than an hour prior).
  • Bring the good stuff! We have a variety of options as well, but if you know your pet works best for a certain treat, bring those.
  • Make sure your pet’s brain is ready to learn. Avoid other stressors or triggers prior to the appointment, and give Pre Visit Pharmaceuticals if previously recommended.


How to prepare your pet for a vet visit


How to make the trip to the vet fear free


Ff Travel To Vet

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Low-stress veterinary care focused on wellbeing

Your pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing is our top priority – which is why we use a low-stress approach with cooperative vet care, making sure it’s a happy vet visit for everyone.

By using Fear Free and Low-Stress training programs we are able to provide educational resources to veterinary team members, emphasizing low-stress handling and calming techniques in order to provide the most positive experience for pets (and their owners too – since it’s stressful to us as owners to see our pets anxious or stressed).

We have undergone a series of training programs emphasizing calming techniques, low-stress handling, recognition of symptoms of fear, anxiety, and stress, as well as the use of pharmacological aids when indicated.


Signs of stress in the veterinary hospital can be subtle, but usually include:

  • Panting
  • Licking Lips
  • Yawning
  • Turning Away or Avoidance
  • Hiding
  • “Freezing”
  • Tail Swishing (cat)

Not so subtle signs can include:

  • Barking/hyperactivity
  • Growling/Hissing
  • Overt aggressive behavior



Dog Language by Lili Chin



Cat Language by Lili Chin

The best approach when dealing with a stressed pet is often to temporarily stop and re-evaluate the immediate need for the procedure being done – do we “need” to do this, or just “want” to do this procedure?

In some cases, our best course of action is as simple as giving the patient a minute to relax; other times, the patient may already be so wound-up that no matter what type of gentle handling techniques are employed the procedure will not be able to be safely performed. In these cases, a suggestion may be made to reschedule the visit.

If rescheduling is recommended, it is important to ask ourselves what can be done differently for the next visit. In many cases, a low dose of an anti-anxiety or mild sedative drug is given several hours prior to the visit can have a significant effect in relaxing the patient. There are also calming pheromones that can be sprayed on carriers, towels, and beds prior to the visit.

We also find that food is an extremely powerful motivator for most dogs, so we try to use it as often as possible during exams and treatments. Please let us know if your pet has a known food allergy! Because treats are such a great distracting and calming agent, we recommend bringing your pet in on an empty or semi-empty stomach so they are more food-motivated.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, some patients just aren’t able to get to a point where they are calm enough for us to safely work with them. In that case, rather than cause further stress, it is often best to more heavily sedate them with injectable drugs. This is safer (and less traumatic) for both the pet, owner, and veterinary staff.


Resources to help your pets with vet visits:

  • Help your dog through scary vet visits – Smart Dog University
  • Put the Treat in Treatment! – Fear Free Pets
  • Cooperative Veterinary Care – Alicea Howell


Want to learn more about the Fear Free Initiative? Watch the videos below!


Cooperative vet care

We use cooperative veterinary care for a strong human and animal bond that ensures your pet’s wellbeing during treatment. We will often use positive reinforcement to obtain blood samples, perform treatments, or administer medications.

Alex Leslie and Alyssa Cary are two of our licensed veterinary technicians, each with a special interest in veterinary behavior. They are each working on their Veterinary Technician Specialty in Behavior and schedule behavior visits to work on a range of skills such as cooperative veterinary care, nuisance behavior management and preventive strategies to avoid certain behaviors.

The early socialization, desensitization, and counterconditioning techniques used under this unique approach ensure that your pet is a happy participant in their essential care for a long and healthy life ahead.

The reality is, however, that cooperative veterinary care in small animal companion medicine has been a neglected topic, only recently gaining traction. Imagine how much easier vet visits would be if your dog or cat was willingly participating in their care? The same goes for at-home treatments, nail trims, medication administration, etc…! The amazing thing about early socialization, desensitization & counter-conditioning and truly working on cooperative veterinary care is that the human-animal bond between pet and their care-giver becomes so much stronger.

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Above: Dr. Gloor petting a Baird’s Tapir prior to an exam and drawing blood from a White Rhino during a veterinary school externship at White Oak Conservation Center. Both trained to not only tolerate these activities – but they would seek out these interactions!



“Just wow. We had an emergency with one of our kittens and called four places and the emergency vet and none could take us.
Clarendon Animal Care was so empathetic and agreed to take us at the end of the day. Every staff member-reception, techs, the vet—were so upbeat and friendly.”

— Emily Butler | Google Review

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