The slogan for the Fear Free initiative started by Dr. Marty Becker is “Taking the Pet Out of Petrified.” It stresses using calm, gentle techniques with patients to better the veterinary visit experience for all involved. Less fear, anxiety and stress improves the experience for the patients, their owners and the veterinary staff.
You may have noticed the label on our website, a pin on a lapel, or heard our staff saying we are “fear free.” What does this mean?
Oak Forest Animal Clinic has been certified as a Fear Free Clinic!
This means our staff has undergone extensive Fear Free training to decrease the stress your pet experiences when he/she visits the clinic.
It means we care about the physical and emotional well-being of your pet. Our goal is to make our patients excited, rather than scared, to come visit us!
It means we will attempt to create as calm an atmosphere as possible for you and your pet.
It means we will attempt to keep waiting room times to a minimum.
It means we will cover your cat’s carrier with a pheromone infused towel to calm them prior to examination.
It means we will assess how and where your pet wants to be examined.
It means we will figure out the best methods to hold your animal for examinations and diagnostics.
It means we will distract your pet from less desirable treatments (injections, blood draws, etc.) with various treats or rewards.
It means that we will make recommendations for anti-anxiety medications and/or sedatives for your pet if he/she too stressed for the necessary exam/procedure/treatment.
What can you as a pet owner do to help?
Fear, anxiety and stress associated with veterinary visits start from the moment you leave home! Limit the stress of your pet by acclimating him/her to car rides, any restraints used for transportation, and the carrier. Cats should associate the carrier as a safe resting place at home as opposed to a cage used only for transport. Limit the amount of treats you give prior to the appointment so your pet will respond better to the use of food rewards during the visit. Using spray pheromones, calming nutraceuticals, and sometimes anti-anxiety medications before the visit can greatly reduce the amount of stress your pet develops during a veterinary visit.
Recognize what stress looks like. Pacing, panting, whining and fidgeting are some of the easy to read signs of stress.
If you think your pet exhibits stress before or during veterinary visits, please talk to our staff about options to make the visit more Fear Free!