Low Stress Handling

In keeping with our practice philosophy of staying at the forefront of all aspects of current thinking in veterinary care, we have long employed the concept of low-stress handling at Amherst Small Animal Hospital. Dr Stein earned his Fear Free Certification in 2017.

We endeavor to make your pet’s visit as pleasant and stress-free as possible in many different ways:

  • cat-only exam room with Feliway diffuser (alleviates stress and fear), heated examination table with a specially-shaped pad to make cats feel comfortable and secure
  • dog exam rooms (used for both dogs and cats) have both Feliway and Adaptil diffusers (Adaptil alleviates stress and fear in dogs)
  • we use appropriate and minimal restraint for procedures and examinations, and often elect to postpone non-essential procedures if your pet is too stressed
  • we employ Dr Sophia Yin‘s low-stress handling methods along with the Fear Free methods.
  • we clean rooms with unscented or low-scented but effective cleaning products and use air exchange fans after every pet’s visit (to reduce any scents of stress from the previous pet in the room)
  • we use food and rewards instead of force, and use low-stress handling and low stress restraint methods like towel wraps to make handling safe for both pet and staff.

One of our staff members was recently at a specialist’s office with her pet, and was frankly horrified with the methods used. They didn’t take the time to introduce themselves to the pet, simply grabbed the pet and manhandled it when it didn’t cooperate immediately. This is a sweet pet who simply had no idea of what was expected of it, and it reacted with panic and fear. In our practice, the pet would have met our staff properly while still on the floor (many pets are stressed on a table), we would have used food and soft voices to elicit cooperation, would have used words the pet understood, and would have taken the time to allow the pet to get used to the equipment we were trying to use rather than just forcing it.