November 2017: Promoting Fear Free at IVS!

Little kitten playing in grass.

Little cat playing in grass. Selective focus, shallow DOF

Happy November to all my furry friends!

What better time of year than the Holidays to speak to the greatest stressor us dogs and cats have around this time of year-stressed, frazzled humans!

Just think about the ‘hustle and bustle’ that comes during the Holidays with new people in our house, our humans coming and going more often, and a different routine than we are used to!

All of us at IVS feel the same sense of excitement and ‘stress’, and we want you to know that we are prepared to make each visit to us for routine care or emergency care-as calm and enjoyable as possible.

During the next few months I will be blogging about our efforts to assure that visits to IVS are easier and less stressful for you and my friends.

Special tips to share this month:

  • For our feline friends, taking the time to introduce the cat carrier ahead of a vet visit will sensitize your feline that the carrier is not a threat. Some cats need up to two weeks or longer to acclimate them to a carrier. Keep the carrier door open and let them explore. Place favorite cat toys/treats inside ahead of time. Many felines love to explore the inside of the carrier. When it’s time to travel make sure the motion of the carrier when moved is kept to a minimum. Nothing worse than being ‘knocked’ around while inside! Use pheromones, scents that calm felines, on a carrier towel. These calming scents can be sprayed inside the car as well. We use them in our exam rooms all the time at IVS!
  • Consider that your pet may need a pre -visit prescription for anti-nausea or anti-anxiety medication. Call us for details. We can help!
  • Cool or warm the car up to 10 to 15 minutes before you load up with the carrier. Place carrier on a no slip surface or anchor the carrier in place to avoid movement during transport.
  • Try to avoid feeling rushed. My furry friends ‘sense’ this in you right away!
  • Try not to accelerate and stop short during transport in the vehicle.
  • For small dogs, carriers can be less stressful than your lap! Consider what it would be like to be jostled around with nothing to anchor you!
  • Make sure that your dog is on leash so normal ‘anxiousness’ does not result in pet escape when exiting the vehicle.

Stay tuned for next month’s blog post on the many steps we take at IVS to welcome your pet and make them feel calm when handled by all our staff!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Hugs and kisses ~Lizzie

Lizzy the dog, licking her nose.

Frank the Golden Retriever with some Veterinarians from Irvine Vet Services

Putting the fun in visits

Did you know there is a whole movement out there called the “Fear Free Initiative? Our Veterinarians and staff believe firmly and passionately about helping your pet have the best experience they can while at our practice.

This means things likes:

  • “Using gentle restraint. Scruffing cats only when necessary.” ~Rachel
  • Courtney has attended a Fear Free lecture and brought back the use of “spray cheese and Feliway as ways to make visits more enjoyable” for our patients. When they get treatments, they also get a special treat!
  • Cathie has adopted “using a soft tone of voice and remaining calm when pets appear stressed or scared” as her everyday routine.
  • “I have often used treats or spray cheese as a distraction when giving vaccines. I also think having a calm voice, positive energy and holding pets close to my body when they are nervous, stressed, or fearful can help them relax. If possible, use a towel to help restrain or cover their head before using a muzzle.” ~Brooke
  • “Using toys as distractions, gently handling pets without a treatment being involved, and encouraging non-doctor related visits to the practice” are other great ways to be Fear Free. ~Tara

With the Home for the Holidays Adoption event right around the corner, we will see more new pets than usual. A lot of these pets are in the Third Chance Program. This means they’ve been adopted and are up for adoption again. They’ve already had a tough hand. Starting our new clients and their pets off in an environment that is less scary is important to us and your future success bringing Fido in for visits. If you would like tips on making the trip to the Veterinarian less stressful, call us today.

Shirley the Cat

Boarding your Pet over the holidays

Finding a place to board your pet over the holidays can be overwhelming. There are so many choices and picking the right one for you and your family is so important. I was just talking to a client today who was booking a boarding reservation because her pet has epilepsy. She was commenting about how she only trusts certain places and people with her dog because of this. It’s such a great feeling to know that we are one of those places not only for his medical care, but his bathing and boarding needs as well.

We offer boarding 365 days a year. Every day your dog is here, they will get walked at least twice daily with food and water changed out twice daily too. We offer them clean bedding daily (more if they need it). Plus, they get lots more interaction with us throughout the day. We do not offer a play area or have dogs mixed together unless they are family.

Bonus – exams! We offer a boarder check-in exam upon arrival, and a release exam prior to your pet going home by one of our qualified technicians or veterinarians. You get the physical exam findings plus a boarder sheet that tells you how they did during their stay. Cats get all of this except for the walks. They’re grateful for that because they’d rather just watch the world go by out their window anyway.

To learn more about our amazing boarding facility, please watch our video.

Irvine Veterinary Services Pet Boarding Video


Lots of new faces…

As our practices grow, so must our staff. We have a few new faces at Irvine Veterinary Services.

Please say hi to a few of the new receptionists we have working at our University Park office. You may have already heard their pleasant voices on the phone!

Taylor enjoys working at IVS because she gets to “snuggle all the cute kitties that come in!”

Chrystel enjoys “saying hi to all the dogs that come in and learning new things from the Vets!”

Stephanie loves “bonding with each pet (baby) that comes through the door.”

We’re so excited to have so many animal lovers on board who are just as passionate about working with animals as they are their owners!

To meet more new staff, like and visit our Facebook page at

Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Fair, Sunday, Dec 10 10AM to 2PM

Come see us!

Low Cost Microchips available!

Ask the Vet!

Plinko & more…

All proceeds go to the Third Chance Program

Parsnip the rabbit

Superstar of the Month: Parsnip

Parsnip is a 1 year old, spayed female, brown Shorthaired rabbit.  She is a beautiful rabbit who enjoys people and cuddles.  Visit Parsnip at the Irvine Animal Care Center and she will greet you at the front of her kennel, eager for some fresh vegetables and parsley.
For more information about Parsnip, call:
Irvine Animal Care Center at (949) 724-7740
Ask for information about animal ID number A109388


Keep your pet’s heart safe with our in practice on online store products!

Various Heartworm Medicines for Dogs and Cats

Ask our veterinarians which is best for your pet and your lifestyle!

Northpark Online Store University Park Online Store

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