Take-home messages

Topics and methods discussed in these guidelines are not part of the traditional curriculum in many veterinary medical schools. These guidelines are based on the following key messages:

  1. Veterinarians must institute a culture of kindness in the practice and avoid using either forced restraint or punitive training or management methods.
  2. Veterinarians must be aware of the patient’s body language at all times, understanding that it conveys information about underlying physiological and mental states.
  3. Practitioners must educate staff and clients to recognize early indicators of behavioral problems.
  4. A standardized behavioral assessment should be a part of every examination and part of the patient’s permanent medical record.
  5. All staff must be familiar with basic behavioral management techniques and be proficient in applying them.
  6. Veterinarians must be committed to healthy brain development in puppies and kittens through proper nutrition and social exposure.
  7. The development of competencies in veterinary behavioral medicine, behavior management, and behavioral wellness is an opportunity for the practice, its clients, and especially, its patients.