How many of us have good intentions when it comes to taking our pet to see the veterinarian once a year (or more)? We know that it’s great for their health, but it’s tough to hear them yowling in the car and see them shaking in the waiting area of the vet clinic.

Enter: the Fear Free veterinary practice. Wait, what? No fear? The team at Poulsbo Animal Clinic is here to explain this new approach to veterinary medicine and what it means for you and your pet.

What Is a Fear Free Veterinary Practice?

The fear free movement started several years ago with an epiphany from “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker. The basic philosophy is that by making veterinary visits less stressful, we can deliver better, safer medical care and an overall improved experience at the vet for pets and their people.

At Poulsbo Animal Clinic, we are proudly working toward becoming a Fear Free certified practice in 2018.

How Does Fear Free Work to Help Pets?

Fear Free is really an effort that begins at home, before you ever visit us. Your efforts at home are then combined with techniques and changes at the practice that result in less stress for your pet during veterinary visits.

Until now, the Fear Free movement has been centered around individual veterinary professionals who complete intensive training to become fear free certified. Through this process, they gain the tools, resources, and knowledge to provide less stressful visits to pets. But, in 2018, there will be a practice certification as well, and we’re so excited to be part of this!

Fear Free certified professionals put the following practices in place:

  • Separate waiting areas and exam rooms for different species, eliminating fear and stress
  • Pheromone therapy throughout the clinic to minimize stress
  • Non-slip surfaces for your pet to sit or stand on during exams and treatments, including yoga mats and towels
  • Lots of small treats to distract and reward your pet
  • Exams and procedures that are performed with minimal restraint and with you in the room
  • Minimal eye contact with your pet, which gives them a chance to get comfortable in their surroundings
  • Careful notes and observations about what causes stress for your pet, and what techniques work to minimize stress

A  Fear Free Future

At a Fear Free veterinary practice, your pet’s emotional well-being is front and center. Fear Free practices also have to live up to rigorous standards, and have an in-person evaluation to ensure they meet with the standards. We’ll be implementing these standards in many areas of our practice, including our physical space, client relations, and team training. Of course, not every veterinary visit will be completely stress free, but it is our goal to make visits more enjoyable for everyone.

Call us if you have questions about the Fear Free movement, and stay tuned this year as we go through this process. We’ll keep you updated on our progress and look forward to showing you more about what Fear Free means when you visit.