Fear Free Certified
Fear Free Certified
Can you imagine telling your dog, “Let’s go to the vet!” and seeing her tail wag? How about getting out your cat’s carrier and seeing him come running?
These visions can become reality when visiting Longwood Veterinary Center. We are part of a new initiative in veterinary medicine designed to ease the stress, fear, and anxiety many pets experience while at the veterinarian.
The Fear Free initiative was founded by Dr. Marty Becker and developed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists, veterinary technician behavior specialists, board-certified veterinary anesthetists, and well-known veterinary practice management experts.
Their goal is to “take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified” and get pets back for veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments.
Every member of Longwood Veterinary Center’s staff are undergoing training, and discussing ways to implement some of these new and improved protocols throughout all parts of the hospital. In fact, each of our veterinarians and the majority of the nursing staff are taking the extra step and becoming certified as fear free practitioners.
The following are examples of a few changes you many notice before, during, and after your visit.
- You may be asked, if medically possible, to bring your pets to the office hungry. Offering treat based positive reinforcement helps desensitize pets to the stress of the hospital. We have many different varieties of treats including peanut butter, spray cheese, and canned chicken or tuna. If you have a food allergy, please mention this to a staff member right away.
- You will notice the nurse who schedules your appointment will ask you if you have concerns about your pet becoming stressed in the carrier or car on the trip to us. We want to minimize stressors to your pet not only during their visit but even before the appointment starts. Check out our checklists on how to get your pet to the vet.
- If your pet becomes anxious in the waiting room, we may ask you to give us a call when you arrive then wait in your car or outside with your pet. As quickly as possible we will escort you into an exam room.
- You may also notice we will be trying to perform many medical procedures such as nail trims and blood collection in the exam room. Reducing multiple new and overwhelming environments helps the pet feel more secure during their visit here. If you are sensitive to blood draws or other procedures, feel free to step out of the room at any time.
- We may also discuss the use of anti-anxiety medications and/or supplements for your pet. Similar to people, chronic stress has lasting effects on our pets. Stress causes detrimental physiologic changes, can inhibit learning, and slow healing. Medications designed to reduce anxiety and reduce fear can help prevent the unwanted side effects associated with stress.
If you are interested in finding out more about the fear free initiative and learning about what you can do at home, visit https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/. Also visit the Canine or Feline Essentials section of our website for a handy check off list on how to get your pet to the vet.