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Natalie Marks, DVM

Column: Fearless

Dr. Natalie Marks is co-owner of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago. She is Fear Free certified.

Dr. Natalie Marks is co-owner of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago. She is Fear Free certified.

Happy visit, happy business

Fearless

Client-led, no-charge tours familiarize anxious pets with the hospital environment. Don’t forget the treats.

Most consumers express increased satisfaction when they hear the magic word “free,” whether it’s a complimentary upgrade on an airplane flight or a no-cost vanilla latte at Starbucks. Business owners, however, often struggle to find value in giving away a product or service. Allow me to introduce you to the Happy Visit, a free service […]

scared dog

Trust the process

Fearless

Reducing fear and stress in patients might require changing the workplace culture. Once you have the team’s attention and buy-in, your clients will take notice.

It’s a busy Monday morning at your practice, full of appointments and a few walk-ins spilling over from the weekend. And then, in the midst of controlled chaos, an anxious German shepherd is scheduled for a 20-minute appointment to “check hips.” A few years ago, just writing those words would have sent my shoulders hunching […]

veterinary exam

Take the fear out of diagnostics

Fearless

If your procedures leave pets petrified, isn’t it time to try something else?

I vividly remember a Tuesday morning many years ago. I woke up incredibly sore and tired, and I had no recollection of why I felt that way. I hadn’t worked out recently and, although I had two heavy toddlers, the previous days were the same routine — no heavy lifting or theme park toting. And […]

scared dog

Find the root cause

Fearless

Fearful and anxious body language is not always behavioral in origin. In some cases, disease is the culprit.

Although this column focuses on the emotional health of our patients and how that can translate into more compliant clients and better business, like many of you I’m a clinician at heart. The better we can use all our diagnostic skills, including recognizing and interpreting canine body language, the more thorough we can be in […]

dog

Fearless through the end

Fearless

Learning to reduce anxiety and stress during hospice or euthanasia will elevate your hospital’s service and care and bring extra comfort to the patient and client.

I often find that the process of letting go of a patient alongside the pet owner is, ironically, what bonds the client for life. It is during these most emotional and vulnerable moments that we, as a veterinary team, have a responsibility and an opportunity to make a lasting impression conveying empathy, sympathy, compassion and […]

Goodbye fear, hello referrals

Fearless

Educating clients about stress-free approaches and responding properly when pet owners become anxious themselves can lead to a healthier practice.

Our industry has become incredibly competitive. In Chicago, it seems that every major neighborhood has a few veterinary hospitals. Meanwhile, corporate medicine is growing, low-cost conglomerates are diving into the field, and more clients are buying from online merchants like Chewy.com and 1-800-PetMeds. Not only has all this created financial stress for independent practice owners, […]

Lost in translation

Fearless

Failure to accurately assess a patient’s body language can lead to a petrified animal, an unproductive exam and poor owner compliance.

As a profession, we are making progress toward recognizing and treating our patients’ emotional health. We’ve implemented pheromones at home and in our practices, prescribed relaxation medications to give before a visit, added music and new color palettes to exam rooms, and introduced high-reward treats to enhance the patient experience. However, one incredibly important aspect […]

The road to fearlessness

Fearless

Clients can turn their dog or cat into a well-adjusted travel companion with a little help from you.

Many variables play a role in the formation of anxious or fearful behavior in traveling pets, but when clients receive good information about preparation, desensitization and stress-reducing products, our patients can have a safer and more comfortable experience. It Starts at Home For both dogs and cats, the key to reducing fear, anxiety and stress […]

The changing face of dentistry

Fearless

Easy-to-implement changes can take odontophobia out of your veterinary practice and your clients.

Odontophobia: the fear of going to the dentist. Millions of people have it and the human dental industry has spent years trying to overcome it, from allowing patients to customize music choices and sit in a massage chair to using less-painful nerve blocks and providing faster, more comfortable cosmetic choices. Still, a significant number of […]

The fearless exam room

Fearless

A few easy changes will go a long way in reducing fear, anxiety and stress in a canine or feline patient.

The heartbeat of every general veterinary practice is the exam room. This is where worried new clients sit with their dogs and cats, and sadly, where end-of-life discussions take place and the hardest decisions have to be made. The exam room is where the human-animal bond can shine, trust is created, and veterinarians, clients and patients become […]

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