Fear Free Certified
We have seen that when we reduce a patient’s fear, anxiety and stress, we have better patient outcomes. During patient visits we can achieve a more accurate reading of vital signs and are able to perform more thorough physical examinations. Surgery patients and sick pets recover faster and can often go home sooner. Boarding pets have a better appetite and more restful sleep. For all of these reasons and more, we know how important it is to find ways to reduce fear anxiety and stress for all of our patients.
Fear Free Certified Professionals™
Emotional health is as important to your pet as physical health. We will never force our patients to submit to non-essential procedures if it means significant elevations to their fear and anxiety levels. We want your pet to have positive experiences at our hospital, even if it means taking a break to re-evaluate our approach.
Steps we take to reduce Fear, Anxiety and Stress in our patients include:
- Giving enticing treats as positive reinforcement and distraction during treatments, such as nail trims and vaccinations.
- Using dog and cat pheromone diffusers in exam rooms and on our clothing to instill a sense of calm.
- Offering pheromone-treated bandanas in the lobby for dogs and pheromone-treated towels that owners can place over their cat’s carrier.
- Gentle, minimal restraint techniques and low-stress handling.
- Designated dog and cat exam rooms.
- Calming music played in the exam room.
- Moving nervous patients from the lobby to exam rooms quickly to reduce additional fear that may be caused by sight or sound of other animals.
- Keeping sudden movements, loud, abrupt noises and other stressors to a minimum when possible.
- Examining pets where they feel comfortable, like in their owner’s lap, on on the floor.
- Using non-slip mats on floors and exam tables.
- And much more!
Before your first (or next) visit to our hospital, please complete this quick online form to help us provide the best experience for you and your pet.
Fear Free starts at home — tips for bringing your pet to the vet the Fear Free way:
- Bring your pet in slightly hungry so they’ll be more receptive to treats. (If your pet has an allergy or food sensitivity, be sure to let us know ahead of time and bring along the treats you use at home).
- Bring a favorite toy or blanket (some pets enjoy play or sensory experiences more than treats).
- Make your cat’s carrier a fixture in their environment so they’ll get used to its presence and not be fearful when they see it.
- If your pet is anxious on car rides, try going on a couple practice runs in the car around the neighborhood.
- Bring your pet in for a simple ‘hello’ now and then for some tasty treats from our staff. These ‘Happy Visits’ can make your pet more familiar with the hospital and associate happy feelings to these visits.
- Find a cat carrier that opens from the top and sides, and is hard sided for easier cleaning and increased sturdiness . Cover the carrier with a towel to decrease visual stimuli and allow your cat to feel safe and hidden inside. Support the carrier from the bottom to avoid swinging motion during transit.
- Listen to calming music, on low level, such as Jazz or Classical in the car on the way to the hospital.
Please visit fearfreehappyhomes.com for more excellent tips on how to recognize and minimize fearful events for your pet in everyday situations.