Fear Free pet care was founded in 2016 by a veterinarian named Dr. Marty Becker and provides education to veterinary professionals, pet professionals, the community, and pet owners. Fear Free professionals must go through a certification course that renews annually. A commitment to continuing education on Fear Free practice is encouraged. Fear Free has quickly become one of the most transformative initiatives in the history of companion animal practice. The goal of Fear Free is to provide education and training on maintaining the emotional well being, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS: The spectrum of the experience of fear, anxiety, and stress) in pets. Providing your pet with comprehensive, holistic care means taking into consideration both your pets’ physical and emotional well being. Fear Free practices are used daily in our veterinary setting, to ensure you and your pet can have a more enjoyable experience in an environment that otherwise may increase (FAS). Our doctor and staff members are better able to obtain a more thorough physical exam and comprehensive diagnostics on a patient that has less (FAS).
We feel it is so crucial that Fear Free begins at home, before evening arriving at our practice. Try leaving your pet’s carrier out at times when a trip in the car is not imminent. Try placing soft blankets in the carrier with a preferred treat or toy. When riding in the car, put your pet’s carrier somewhere where there is less jostling, such as the floor behind the front seat. Cover your pet’s carrier with a blanket or towel. You can use pheromones to help ease your pet for travel! We recommend Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs. Play soothing music in the car for your pet or try to keep the noise minimal. Or better yet, invest in pet acoustics or an icalm pet-specific calming music receptacle, that you can set next to pet or attach to their carrier. Some products, such as Thundershirts, may ease FAS for some pets as well. We may even recommend administering anti-anxiety medication or natural anti-anxiety supplements before making your trip to our practice. If your pet has any phobias or things that have helped or hindered previous vet experiences, please let us know when scheduling your pet’s appointment. You can always bring your pet’s blanket, or toy, or something precious and familiar to your pet, which may make them feel more comfortable upon their visit at our practice.
Fear Free does not mean that your pet may never experience anything uncomfortable at our practice. Still, you can rest assure in our team commitment to do everything possible to create a peaceful, confident, and enjoyable visit for your pet. Fully trained as Fear Free practitioners, our team can recognize canine and feline body language that communicates their level of FAS. We implement animal handling techniques that not only take into account the safety of our staff, but also your pet’s safety, happiness, and comfort. Also, we use a variety of treats and toys in the clinic to aid in providing an overall Fear Free experience and visit for your pet. Thus, please let us know when you arrive at our clinic if you or your pet has a food allergy.
Other ways we implement Fear Free techniques is by providing non-slip surfaces on exam tables, plush blankets on the floor and provide a hiding space for cats in our exam rooms or treatment and hospitalization areas. We use calming pheromones (Adaptil and Feliway) in each exam room and throughout the clinic for our canine and feline patients. We do our best to schedule appropriately to ensure you and your pet do not feel rushed throughout your appointment. In addition, we utilize calming sound therapy (iCalm and Petacoustics), and safe diffusion of essential oils, such as lavender in our exam rooms and in the treatment area to aide in providing a relaxing environment specifically for your pet’s needs.
Although our clinic is small, we do our best to route traffic, so that pets do not have to excessive, close stressful interaction with other pets. To successfully implement this process, we may escort you and your pet through our rear exit to avoid pet interaction in the reception area. Or we may ask that you call from the parking lot so that we may escort your overly nervous pet directly into an exam room. If your pet does have to wait in our reception area, we make available relaxing pheromone infused towels to cover cat carriers, or pheromone infused bandannas and toys for our canine friends.
Lastly, we welcome and encourage only friendly “treat” visits for your pet where you may come by just to visit us and have your pet have a fun, positive, treat enriched experience. We do ask that if possible, you give us a call before coming so we can assure you of a calm reception area for your pet. Fear Free is all about rewards and positive experiences, not punishment.
You can feel at ease that we have Fear Free certified professionals on our team! We look forward to showing you and your pet that the vet can be a terrific POSITIVE place to visit!