AniCura Belgium collaborated with a pharmaceutical supplier to increase awareness of patient stress and stress preventative measures. The goal is to guide clinics to become stress-free environments.
In total, nine Belgian clinics signed up for the program. Following initial screening of the each clinic’s procedures, tailor-made advice and practical workshops were provided.
Sofie Apers, veterinary nurse at AniCura Dierenkliniek De Vliet, shares her experience.
Why did you join the Stress Free Program?
- We noticed that pet owners care much more about the mental wellbeing of their pets than they have ever done before. Because people consider their pets to truly be a part of their family, they expect the same level of care and compassion for them as they would for human family members. Just providing the best care is not enough anymore. Customers expect their pets to feel at ease when they have to stay overnight or when they visit the veterinarian. Hearing other clinics being enthusiastic about the program, we decided to get onboard as well.
How did the program change your way of working?
- Based on the personalized input and feedback we received during the program, there are several things that we have changed. To start with, we completely renewed our hospitalization cages. The cages are now bigger and have floor heating instead of infrared light bulbs. This is more comfortable for the pets. Cats now get their own cardboard box to hide in, making them feel more at ease.
Moreover, the rebranding of our clinic to stress-free proved to be the perfect occasion to implement our newly acquired knowledge about reducing stress to our interior. We seized the opportunity and applied sandblast foil with the beautiful AniCura pictures or patterns to avoid pets staring at each other, we repainted our interiors in colors that have been proven to be less stressful for animals and even chose new exam table mats in the right color.
Moreover, we have split the waiting room into two separate areas for cats and dogs with high shelves in between. For the cat area, we have chosen a quiet corner with special surfaces to put the transportation cages to help the cats feel safer. There are even blankets provided to put over the cages for scared cats and treats for dogs to reward their good behavior. Finally, all our team members are much more aware about stress signals and know how to act upon them.
Did you get any reactions from customers?
- Yes, only positive ones. People really appreciate our efforts and are using the provided tools, like blankets and special surfaces for cages. But even more important: we see that the patients are calmer. It is great to hear customers say that the threshold for visiting a veterinary clinic is much lower now they know that it will be less stressful for their pet.