You and your pet get a different experience at our clinic, thanks to our Fear Free approach. Fear Free is a certification program that teaches a gentler way of approaching our patients, in order to decrease fear, anxiety, and stress while here. When our patients experience these feelings, it causes a lasting unpleasant experience, which they remember at future visits, and in turn, causes a more fearful response at future visits. It can also cause adverse health effects, shorter life spans, and falsely alter lab results. We work diligently to implement a host of tools and methods designed to lower these symptoms in our pets, and everything we do is designed in such a way to provide a calm, compassionate environment.
Before bringing your dog or cat in to see us, there are three things you can do to help set them up for a positive visit:
- Bring them in hungry! We offer a large variety of treats to help reduce anxiety, and this works best if they have not been fed prior to the visit. If your pet has a favorite treat, please bring this with you. And don’t hesitate to let us know if your pet has food restrictions – we want to be sure we only offer acceptable treats!
- Remain calm on the trip over. If your dog or cat is vocalizing or showing other signs of stress, it is best not to talk or baby-talk at them on the way over. This can actually increase anxiety by reinforcing their anxious behavior and essentially telling them they SHOULD feel anxious. The best plan of action is to relax and act like everything is normal (because it IS!). Please face cat carriers toward the seat, and carry carriers in by their bottoms, not by the handle – that swinging back and forth is definitely anxiety-inducing!
- Please be sure to give your dog or cat the appropriate fear free medication prior to the visit, if our team has recommended this. For many pets, this can make a difference between a positive visit and a scary one, and not giving the medication if it is recommended may result in a less thorough exam, or not being able to complete a needed procedure.
We realize that our approach is somewhat different than other clinics, and can sometimes create frustration at first, as many visits go more slowly than anticipated, or multiple visits may be required just to get a single procedure completed (like a nail trim or vaccine). Please rest assured that with time, the visits will go much quicker and more smoothly, and you will have a more relaxed kiddo at the vet! Thank you for working with us to help care for your pet’s emotional well-being, as well as physical well-being!