Fear Free was founded in 2016 by a veterinarian 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 and renew 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 on emotional well being, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) in pets. We believe a pet’s emotional well being is as important as their physical well being and can go hand in hand. When Fear Free is implemented in a veterinary setting you and your pet can have a more enjoyable experience in an environment that otherwise may increase (FAS). Our doctors are better able to obtain a more thorough physical exam and comprehensive diagnostics on a patient that has less (FAS).
Fear Free can begin at home! 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 place 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 noise minimal. Some products such as Thundershirts may ease FAS for some pets. We may recommend administering medications at home at your pet’s meal time or with treats when possible. 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.
Fear Free does not mean that your pet may never experience anything uncomfortable at the vet but it does mean that our team is committed to do everything possible to create a peaceful and enjoyable visit for your pet.
Our team is trained to 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 your pet’s safety and comfort.
We recommend bringing your pet hungry to a visit or bring along a preferred treat or toy when they come in to see us. We use a variety of treats and toys in clinic to aide us in providing a Fear Free visit. 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 yoga mats or non slip surfaces on exam tables for your pet. Whenever possible we are happy to perform treatments with you present or on the floor if this works best for your pet. You may notice our doctor NOT wearing a lab coat. Bright white is a color that can be startling to some pets. We place plush blankets on the floor and provide hiding space for cats in our exam rooms. We use calming pheromones in clinic for our canine and feline patients. We allow time to spend with your pet so that they are not rushed through their visit with treatment being forced upon them. We use essential oil diffusers with oils such as lavender to make a more inviting environment (please talk to your vet about using essential oils in the home, not all are pet safe). We may recommend you collect urine or stool samples at home to avoid unnecessary treatments being administered in clinic. Your vet may discuss pharmaceutical intervention to help calm your pet before or during their appointment. We give vaccines that are manufactured with half the amount to be administered than some other vaccines (still effective). We use fresh needles and small gauge needles to make injections less painful for your pet. We utilize sound therapy in our exam rooms in iCalm pet devices that play “Through a Dog’s Ear” and “Through a Cat’s Ear”. Although our clinic is small we do our best to route traffic so that pet’s do not have to have interaction. For example we may escort you and your pet through our rear exit to avoid pet interaction in the reception area. If your pet does have to wait in our reception area we try to make this wait time as short as possible and may offer pheromone infused towels for over cat carriers or pheromone infused bandannas and toys for our canine friends. If your pet does better going straight into an exam room, we may ask that you call us from the car so we can assure your pet no wait time in the reception area. We utilize cleaning products that are endorsed by Fear Free and in addition to sanitizing do not have an offensive odor to pets.
We welcome “treat” visits for your pet where you may come by just to visit us and have your pet receive treats without the consequence of veterinary treatments. We do ask that if possible you give us a call before coming so we can assure 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 great place to visit!
Our pledge to you…