‘Fear Free‘ is a movement started in the USA, with the mission: ‘to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.’ They provide training courses and accreditation for vets, to enable them to help pets to experience less fear, anxiety and stress during veterinary visits and procedures. Their web site is https://fearfreepets.com/
Fiona French at Heene Road Vets has recently undertaken the training and exams and is now a Fear Free accredited practitioner. She has learnt a variety of tools that can be used for pets visiting the practice, including gentle control and distraction techniques, and the use of a variety of natural products and drugs to reduce fear and anxiety. Since adopting these methods, Heene Road Vets have had considerable success with pets who were previously very unmanageable during their visits, who are now much more relaxed and compliant. Fiona says: ‘I became a vet mainly because I love pets, and it’s always saddened me that many of the pets I see are really not pleased to see me at all! Since starting to use the Fear Free methods, we are seeing more pets who are actually happy to visit the vets, and it makes providing the care they need so much easier.’
Pets can be fearful for a variety of reasons, and we want to work with owners to alleviate this fear and make their experience of visiting the practice the most pleasant it can be. Sometimes, their fear is very obvious: this can be demonstrated by aggression towards practice staff and their owner, or extreme behaviour to try to escape the situation or evade the procedure we are attempting to perform. These cases often benefit massively from drugs that help to reduce their anxiety, and other strategies to try to give them positive experiences. Often though, the signs of fear are much more subtle and can only be picked up by their body language – these pets still need help to cope with the situation and feel more at ease..
Tips for Cat and Dog owners to make your pet’s visit to the vet more comfortable
Please also see our information sheets with tips for cat and dog owners on getting your pet to the surgery “Fear Free”.
Book a consultation
If you feel your pet is very fearful, do mention this when booking as we can help with suggestions to improve the situation, which may sometimes involve collecting some medication to give prior to their visit.