Veterinarian and CatEvery pet owner has experienced that feeling when you know that your pet should probably be seen by a veterinarian, but you’re hesitant due to the stress you know it will cause. Many pets miss out on basic wellness care and even sick care due to their fear of coming to see us. Things are changing, however, and Fear Freesm veterinary visits are becoming the trend. Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is happy to embrace this trend and help more pets get the fear-free care that they deserve.


What Fear Freesm Veterinary Visits Are About

The purpose of Fear Freesm veterinary visits is pretty clear: reduce fear and stress among our animal patients and make all aspects of their trip to our hospital as comfortable as possible. That is not as simple as it sounds. Each pet’s fears and perceptions are unique. Just as most people don’t enjoy hospital visits, many of our pets do not enjoy having procedures done. We can change that. This goal helps to foster the health and well-being of all of our pet patients.

Fear Freesmis the implementation of techniques to address the emotional wellbeing of the veterinary healthcare team, the patients we treat and the people who love them while safely administering veterinary care.

A Fear Freesm visit has several goals:

  • To help you to get your pet to us calmly and safely
  • To minimize waiting-room anxiety
  • To keep exam rooms patient-friendly
  • To create a sense of calm and well-being for your pet
  • To perform procedures safely with low-stress techniques
  • To utilize pheromones, anxiolytics, sedation and/or pre-emptive pain medication to keep visits at ease and comfortable

Our pets receive better care when they are comfortable. Not only are owners more likely to bring them when needed, but calm pets allow us to accomplish more during their visit. Tools to accomplish these goals may be simple: even a rug. A small dog may be worried on a slippery examination table, so putting a small rug, towel or section of yoga mat under the dog’s feet may reduce the scrambling. Bringing your pet’s own rug would be even more comforting. A Fear Freesm focus will be about understanding and having empathy for the worries of our dogs and cats. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Fear Freesm Certification Program

In order to demonstrate dedication to making every veterinary visit Fear Freesm, there is now a Fear Free Professional Certification for individual veterinary professional staff which will be the foundation for the next phase which is practice certification. All staff members, from veterinarians to technicians to assistants to customer service representatives are eligible to participate in Fear Freesm certification so that your pets can have a Fear Freesm Experience.

The Fear Freesm Initiative was founded in order to reduce stress to pets during veterinary care. Marty Becker DVM has collaborated with like-minded professionals by organizing the Fear Freesm Advisory Panel. The panel is comprised of about 160 experts in the field of animal behavior and in the veterinary industry including OVRS’s own veterinary behaviorist Theresa DePorter DVM DACVB DECAWBM. In order to share this message and the techniques, the Fear Freesm Initiative has developed an eight-module course designed to help those who work with your pets to better understand animal behavior and learn techniques to achieve the Fear Freesm goal.

Besides completing the course, Fear Freesm Certified veterinary professionals will also need to complete continuing education requirements to keep their certification up to date.

Starting in 2018, veterinary practices across the country will be eligible to receive a practice-level certification. In order to achieve this honor, at least 25% of the employees at the practice must have a Fear Freesm Certification and the hospital must undergo an onsite inspection to be sure that it meets all the criteria.

Fear Freesm Certification means a lot to us. Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is leading the way for achieving Fear Freesm certification to ensure that your pet feels at ease in our hospital. Our goal has been to define symptoms of anxiety in pets so that we can reduce that distress. Some dog are a little worried and pant. Some cats just freeze in the back of their carriers. Other pets are explosive and try to get away. All of these pets deserve a Fear Freesm visit.

By promoting empathy and understanding of a pet’s worry at the vet, staff members will have a variety of Fear Freesm techniques with which to reduce the fear experienced by an individual pet and all patients collectively. We hope to bring a better veterinary experience to our clients and your pets. After all, a stress-free experience helps us all to achieve our end-goal: the highest quality care for the four-legged friends entrusted to our care.