We strongly believe that your pet’s veterinary experience should be a positive and enjoyable one, so we strive to recognize even subtle signs of fear, anxiety, and stress, and make adjustments to meet your pet’s emotional needs. To help us achieve this mission, we incorporate many Fear-Free techniques into each pet’s visit. The Fear Free initiative was trademarked and formalized in 2016, but the concepts and philosophies are not new to our doctors and team. Creating a culture and providing care in a manner which aims to recognize and reduce fear, anxiety, and stress, and promotes the human animal bond, has always been our goal. Achieving this takes effort and requires active communication between clients and our team, but the reward is a better overall experience for you, your pet, and our team.
Fear Free visits
Each time your pet visits our hospital, we strive to make the experience as stress-free as possible by using a combination of calming techniques, including:
- Reduced waiting time —When you arrive, we do our best to limit the time your pet spends in our lobby. If other animals cause your pet anxiety, you can call us when you arrive, and rather than bringing your pet in, we’ll come to you when an exam room is ready.
- Peaceful environment — When you enter our lobby, you’ll notice soft music playing to soothe your pet’s mind; dim lighting and soft wall colors to help invoke a sense of calm; and non-slip floors to prevent slippery surfaces.
- Personalized exam experience — We will treat your pet on the floor, in your lap, or even outside, if it helps alleviate their stress. Our team moves with purpose in a calm, gentle manner and uses low voices to let you know what we are doing every step of the way. We don’t push your pet to do anything they feel is scary or fearful. If your pet stays here with us, we continue the same calming techniques, considerate approach, and gentle control to prevent fear, anxiety, and stress whenever possible.
Tips to make visits easier
There are a number of actions you can take before your pet’s visit to prevent anxiety before it develops, such as:
- Stopping by — We love when you stop by with your pet just to say hello! These visits help create a positive association with the clinic so your pet will look forward to veterinary visits. Our staff is always excited to offer encouragement and treats to make each pet feel welcome and secure.
- Using calming pheromones — A towel, shirt, blanket, or bed sprayed with species-specific calming pheromones, such as Adaptil or Feliway, can help promote relaxation. An item that smells like home, such as a blanket your pet sleeps on or a t-shirt you’ve worn, can also provide comfort for your pet. For dogs, consider spraying a bandana with Adaptil and placing it on their neck. For cats, you can use Feliway wipes on kennel surfaces prior to travel.
- Letting us know if your pet is anxious — Before your scheduled visit, please let us know if your pet easily becomes anxious, or if there are particular things that cause him or her anxiety. In addition to avoiding stressful stimuli, we can prescribe an anti-anxiety supplement or medication to help your pet remain calm so they will have a more pleasant veterinary experience. Let us know if this is something you feel your pet would benefit from.
We love to educate our community about Fear Free concepts and have handouts and tips to help you get started, and make your pet’s next visit less stressful.
If you’d like to see the difference our compassionate, welcoming care makes for your pet’s visits, call us to schedule an appointment. Be sure to let us know on the phone how we can make your pet’s visit less stressful!