At Shelden Veterinary Care, we’re embarking on a new and exciting path. We’ve always been conscientious about your pet’s happiness and well being, both at home and at our practice. Recently, however, the Fear Free initiative has come to our attention, and we’re hooked on the idea.
You may have heard of Dr. Marty Becker “America’s Veterinarian,” who’s the founder of this movement. But chances are, the term “fear free practice” is new to you. We’re so excited to begin this endeavor – let’s review!
What is the Fear Free Initiative?
The fear free initiative started a few years ago, and it’s a philosophy backed up by practice. The idea is to make veterinary visits stress-free for pets and clients. Considering the emotional and physical well being of pets results in better care, a more relaxed environment, and an overall better experience for everyone. The goal is to make veterinary visits easier so all pets receive better medical care.
A fear free practice has a process for recording each pet’s temperament and their responses to an exam and treatment. That way, we can be sure to repeat what worked for them the next time around (and change what didn’t work).
Since its inception, fear free certification has only been for individuals. In 2018, however, a practice certification became available.
What Makes a Fear Free Practice Different?
There are many things a practice can do to achieve a fear free designation. At Shelden, working together to put fear free practices front and center has been one of the most exciting parts of the process. We want to highlight some things you might notice that set a Fear Free Practice apart.
Fear Free for Cats
Kitties are a special breed, so to speak. They don’t like unfamiliar smells or places, so understanding their behavior and what makes them fearful is the first step in becoming a fear free practice. To reduce stress in cats, we:
- Regularly train our team on cat behavior and how to read cat body language
- Move cats into exam rooms ASAP to alleviate stress
- Have a cat only exam room
- Examine cats while inside their carriers (if the top comes off)
- Use pheromone therapy in areas where cats are examined and treated
- Use gentle restraint techniques
- Provide lots and lots of treats!
Fear Free for Dogs
Dogs can be really fearful at the veterinary hospital. Again, understanding their behavior is key to helping put fear free techniques in place. Here are some we use:
- Team training to learn dog behavior and how to read dog body language
- Avoiding eye contact with dogs when we first meet them
- Allowing the dog to become familiar with their surroundings before exams or treatments
- Using pheromone therapy in areas where dogs are examined and treated
- Gentle restraint techniques
- Put the “treat” back in treatment (lots of treats for your dog!)
Stay tuned for more as we work toward becoming a certified fear free practice!
If you have other questions about the fear free initiative, please give us a call. We’re happy and excited to share this news with you!