Going to the vet shouldn’t be a stressful experience, but for most pets (and their owners), that’s exactly what it is. At Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, we make protecting the emotional well being of our patients a top priority, which is why the majority of our staff have participated in the Fear Free certification program. We’re thrilled to share more about this program and the many physical and mental benefits of reducing fear, stress, and anxiety in pets.
Fear Free Basics
The Fear Free training program was founded by Dr. Marty Becker and developed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists, technician behavior specialists, board-certified veterinary anesthetists, veterinary practice management experts, and other veterinary practitioners. The goal is to help veterinarians and staff modify their facility, procedures, and handling techniques to create an environment where pets feel safe and comfortable.
All of our veterinarians and two-thirds of our staff are Fear Free certified. Certification requires completion of an 8-part education course and exam, along with continuing education to maintain their certification.
We’ve Got What it Takes
We’re proud to implement the Fear Free principles here at our facility, including:
- Separate waiting areas and exam rooms for dogs and cats
- The use of treats, toys, and praise to calm anxious pets
- Staff trained to spot fear and anxiety in pets and the use of proper handling techniques to reduce stress
- The use of dog and cat pheromones to create a calming environment
- The use of anti-anxiety medication (as needed) to reduce fear associated with veterinary procedures
The Benefits to Your Pet
Fear, anxiety, and stress (also known as FAS) can result in significant physiological and behavioral changes in pets. Chronic FAS can inhibit healing and make receiving medical treatment difficult. In many cases, FAS hampers exams, making it difficult or impossible to thoroughly evaluate a pet’s condition.
When pets are calm and happy, their physical examination is more thorough, blood chemistries are more accurate, and healing progresses more quickly. Pet owners also experience less stress, which translates to better (and more frequent) communication and veterinary care.
What Pet Owners Can Do
Creating a Fear Free veterinary visit can begin at home! Stay calm, remain upbeat, and check out our tips for making visits less stressful.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital for more information. We’re always here for you and your pet!