Five Ways to Reduce FAS in the ER

Rescue Expert Blog

Learn how to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) in emergency settings by understanding animal emotions, employing strategic handling techniques, and creating a calming environment.

This handout will offer practical tips and tricks to turn a stressful situation into a more calming one for your patients.  

1   Understand that dogs and cats in the ER setting are experiencing fear, anxiety, stress, and possibly pain, as opposed to being unruly or mean
  • Know the difference between neutral and stressed body language.
  • Call out body language to fellow staff to give information and formulate a plan in handling for procedures.
2   Reduce FAS by keeping all four paws on the floor/table
  • Have a non-slip mat available for pet to stand on.
  • Provides balance for pets, which helps them feel more secure.
3   Use gentle control when handling cats and dogs
  • Once touching patients, slide hands to parts of body instead of lifting hands and touching patients repeatedly.
  • Offer towels for cats to hide under.
  • Take a break and reassess handling plan if FAS is 4-5.
4   How to reduce FAS when giving treatment/doing procedures
  • Limit the number of staff members that interact with patients.
  • Block view of other patients for the cat or dog you are treating.
  • Use lidocaine for needles, especially blood draws and IV catheters.
5   Limit smells, sights, sounds, and touch
  • Use Rescue to clean in between patients.
  • Separate dogs and cats and do as much in the exam room as possible.
  • Quiet voices, and softly open and close doors and cages.
  • Once touching a patient, slide hands into place to avoid repeatedly touching them.