What a Fear Free Veterinary Practice Looks Like


The Fear Free initiative first began to minimize fear, anxiety and stress for pets at the veterinary clinic. And veterinarians and veterinary nurses have had to actually become certified as Fear Free, working toward making the experience FAR better for their 4-legged clients. Now, entire veterinary practices can be certified. Visiting Fear Free practices, compared to some that are not, as you can see – makes a huge difference.

Here are just a few of the examples:

  • Cats may have their own side, and dogs may have their own side. While many cats live with dogs, many do not – and it’s intimidating and scary when a Labrador is sniffing in your face.
  • Education about all sorts of things, from how to get pets on the scale (without forcing them) or to remind people that cats prefer not to be in carriers on the ground, but rather on a lap or table.
  • Veterinary clinics plug in pheromone diffusers everywhere, Adaptil (for dogs) and Feliway (for cats). Many technicians and veterinarians even spray their clothing with these calming pheromones.
  • A menu for the pets – the visit offers rewards, like they’re being paid to see the veterinarian. If every time, I received a slice of cake when I visited my dentist – I would be there every day. Of course, that cake would need to be sugar free.
  • Calming music: Classical music has been shown in studies to relax pets (and other studies demonstrate that music relaxes people too).
  • A Fear Free exam – with all sorts of ways to improve upon the exam, thinking about what’s best for the pets, from vaccines which take less time to give to veterinarians examining pets where they prefer – even on the floor.
  • Veterinarians don’t wear traditional white coats, which some pets have learned to fear.

Fear Free supports the medical exam itself as well as emotional health and well-being.

There’s a website which details all of this, helps you to find Fear Free certified veterinary professionals, and offers free stuff, as well as good information – written by experts, at Fear Free Happy Homes.