What is a Fear Free clinic?

A Fear Free clinic is a team of Fear Free certified Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, Veterinary Assistants, and Customer Care Specialists. To become a Fear Free clinic, we were required to undergo hours of training and testing. As Fear Free certified professionals, we are able to reduce or remove anxiety triggers that can cause your pet to become fearful at home, in transport, and at the veterinary hospital. We now have techniques to help you deliver a calmer, happier pet to our hospital which can increase compliance, and improve safety for the veterinary team. We will use a combination of Gentle Control and Touch Gradient techniques.  Fear Free doesn’t mean that your pet will never experience anything uncomfortable at the clinic since he may be injured or ill, but it does mean that we can make every effort to reduce any fear, anxiety, and stress related to examinations and procedures. We have the skills to not only look after your pet’s physical wellbeing but their emotional wellbeing as well.

What will we do to make your visit as Fear Free as possible?

Having a relaxed and happy pet is our goal. We want your pet to be excited to see us! You will be able to see some methods around the clinic that will help us reach this goal.

With our canine patients one of the first things we ask for when they come in to the clinic is for an updated weight. Our scale has a nice non-slip mat so our patients feel stable while stepping up on the scale. We also have a bowl full of tasty treats on the counter to help make getting on to the scale more rewarding.

All of our exam rooms, as well as our treatment room, have pheromone infusers. These pheromone infusers emit happy, calming, feel good scents. These are not scents that we can smell but our dogs and cats can. We also have pheromone infused blankets and towels for added comfort. These pheromones will help your pet feel more relaxed and at home.

Our exam rooms and treatment area are equipped with a variety of treats so we can find one your pet loves most. We also have some appetizing canned food that we have frozen into a “pupsicle”, this can keep your pet busy while we perform an exam or administer vaccines.

Having a happy, calm, relaxed pet will help you feel more comfortable bringing them into the clinic.

What can you do at home and in the clinic to help make the most of your Fear Free visit?

Bringing your pet in hungry is always a good idea. The hungrier they are the more likely they are to take the treats we offer. When they take treats from us it creates a positive bonding experience for them. If you have a picky pet or a pet with a sensitive stomach please bring a several treats with you that your pet especially loves. Canned food can also be used. Not feeding them before travel will also help with any car nausea. You can also bring along your pets favourite toy, blanket, or brush.

Some pets need calming medication to help them feel more at ease. This would need to be given before coming in for your appointment, so if you think your pet would benefit from a calming medication please call us and we can ask the doctor to prepare a prescription for you to pick up before your appointment date.

Bringing your dog in on a 6-foot leash gives you the best control. While a retractable leash may be nice for long walks, it’s not always ideal in the veterinary clinic. It’s safest for you and your dog to have them close to you. Small dogs who are crate trained can come into the clinic in their crates. This will help them feel safe and calm.

Does your cat see his carrier and run for the hills? Does your cat put up a fight to get in the carrier? Is your cat vocal in the car? Many cats become stressed in their carrier or even just the sight of their carrier can cause stress. Here are some helpful tips to make your cat more relaxed on their trip to the clinic.

The first step should happen, if possible, a few weeks before your appointment. It is recommended to bring your carrier out of storage. Most times we get the carrier out, grab them, and try to push them inside. This is very stressful and fearful for them. By bringing the carrier out and placing it somewhere in your home where your cat frequently goes, they can take their time investigating the carrier and become familiar with it. You can place a pheromone infused blanket or towel in the carrier, some treats, cat nip, or toys to help entice your cat to go in. Having a carrier of the appropriate size will help your cat feel more safe and secure. Choose one that is big enough for your cat to lie down, stand up, and turn around in. Be sure to find a carrier that has at least two openings and that can be easily taken apart for use as a bed in the home, and if necessary, during examinations in the clinic.

Only transport two cats together in the same carrier if they are comfortable, but be aware that while they may be comfortable on the way to the hospital, on the return trip, anxiety may peak and result in fighting.

Surprisingly the way you carry your carrier can affect how your cat feels. Try your best to not carry by the handle but carry it like a fragile gift – close to your chest and held with both hands. This will prevent any swinging motions and keep them from being at eye contact with any dogs in the waiting room.