What is Fear Free®?

Fear Free is an initiative that has transformed companion animal practice by providing unparalleled education on emotional wellbeing, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. Fear Free provides online and in-person education to veterinary professionals, pet professionals, animal welfare communities, and pet owners. Their courses have been developed by the most respected veterinary and pet experts in the world, including boarded veterinary behaviorists, boarded veterinary anesthesiologists, pain experts, boarded veterinary internists, veterinary technicians (behavior), experts in shelter medicine, animal training, grooming, boarding, and more. To be Fear Free Certified, pet professionals must complete course requirements and update their certifications each year. Hospital certification requires that individuals within the practice are certified and passing certification requires a rigorous review of all hospital practices and policies. You can learn more by visiting fearfreepets.com.

Fear Free®Mission Statement

We are as committed to the emotional well-being of our patients as we are to their physical health. Therefore, we are dedicated to limiting fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) during your pet’s visit to our office. Limiting FAS helps us take better care of your pet by performing more thorough exams and diagnostics. Keeping stress and anxiety under control also helps to ensure that your pet will recover faster from illness. While we understand that some pets will still experience FAS at the veterinary office, we plan to do all that we can to support them.

Fear Free®Veterinary Visits Start at Home:

  • Fill out the pre-visit questionnaire before your visit, so that we can prepare accommodations for your pet.
  • How to prepare your pet for a veterinary visit - Handout
  • How to make the trip to the vet fear free - Handout
  • For more information on ensuring your pet’s emotional wellbeing at home, we highly recommend signing up for a free membership at Fearfreehappyhomes.com for many helpful and trusted resources

What to expect at a Fear Free® Visit:

Setting the Environment:

  • No waiting in the lobby. We will call you into an exam room directly from your car.
  • Pheromone spray will be used to emit scentless and calming substances into the air in our exam rooms and hospitalization wards. 
  • Color therapy. Bright white can be startling to animals. Pastels are more soothing and we keep this in mind when choosing our office decor.
  • No more sitting on slick or cold surfaces: Your pet will have a nonslip surface to stand on, such as a yoga mat or a warm, pheromone-infused towel.

Exams and Procedures:

  • Eye contact is for you, not your pet. Fear Free Certified® veterinary team members will initially avoid eye contact with your pet and focus on you instead. This helps your pet feel less stressed because he’s not the center of attention and gives him time to check out his environment and become accustomed to the team member’s presence.
  • Got treats? Bring your dog or cat in hungry because Fear Free Certified® veterinary team members will be handing out many small but delicious treats throughout the visit to welcome your pet, distract him from procedures, and reward him for cooperation.
  • Playing doctor. In addition to treats, our veterinary team members utilize a variety of distraction techniques, such as toys, to help your pet be comfortable.
  • Whenever possible, our Fear Free Certified® veterinary team members will perform exams and procedures right there in the exam room so your pet will be reassured by your presence and you can assist as needed.

Preparing for Future Visits:

  • A little extra help? If needed, we will prescribe anti-anxiety or other calming supplements or medications to help make the car ride and the visit more enjoyable and less frightening for your pet. 
  • Our veterinary team members will note your pet’s emotional response to the visit and what treats and techniques worked best to reduce any fear, anxiety, and stress that may have been expressed. This will help to make future visits even better.