Why Fear Free Care Is the Right Choice for Your Pet
Many pet owners have experienced the heart-rending sight of their beloved furry friend trembling, hiding, or acting out of character due to the fear and anxiety of a trip to the veterinarian. These reactions can be distressing for both the animal and the owner. Thankfully, there’s a revolutionary approach reshaping the veterinary landscape: Fear Free care. Here are the top 10 reasons why Fear Free Certified Practices and Certified Professionals benefit pets and their people.
1. An Emphasis on Emotional Well-being
Vet visits traditionally focused primarily on physical health, but Fear Free care recognizes that emotional well-being is equally essential. When a pet is terrified, it affects them physically as well. By attending to a pet’s emotional state, we ensure that we’re addressing the entire health spectrum.
2. More Consistent Regular Care
Studies have shown that many pet owners avoid regular vet checkups due to the anticipated stress. Fear Free care aims to change this. With reduced anxiety, more pets can benefit from preventive care, catching potential issues before they become significant problems.
3. Gentle Handling and Positive Associations
Fear Free professionals are trained to move slowly, talk quietly, progress at the pet’s pace, avoid direct eye contact initially, and use positive distractions, such as treats, toys, and gentle petting. This results in a more relaxed pet that feels less threatened.
4. Safer Vet Visits for All
When your pet isn’t highly stressed, they are far less likely to struggle, bite, or scratch – potentially injuring themselves or the veterinary team. Because we ensure that each pet we treat isn’t experiencing prolonged periods of high stress, visits are safer for all involved.
5. More Accurate Test Results
Because stress affects your pet physically, it can actually cause their test results to be less accurate. Stress increases blood pressure and respiratory rate, and can even make bloodwork results less accurate. This can create confusion as to whether there’s a true medical problem or if an altered value is simply the result of excessive stress. With Fear Free, a less-stressed pet means more accurate diagnostic tests.
6. Empathy and a Common Language
The descriptions used in the Fear Free approach emphasize understanding the animal’s point of view. Terms like “fractious cat” or “aggressive dog” place the blame on your pet, so we avoid those terms. Instead, we focus on recognizing that undesirable behaviors stem from fear and we address the root cause. Fear Free uses an objective scale and a common language among all caregivers to describe the behaviors your pet displays and their corresponding level of comfort.
7. Medications and Supplements When Needed
For pets who are showing serious signs of stress, Fear Free certified veterinarians may prescribe calming medications or supplements. “Muscling through” an appointment and ignoring your pet’s stress just makes it all the more difficult and stressful for everybody next time. Rather than pin down a terrified animal and attempt to treat it, Fear Free practitioners will take measures to help make your pet more comfortable.
8. Less-Stressful Wait Times
One common major stressor at the vet is the waiting area. Fear Free Certified Practices often have species-specific zones, separate entrances, or will encourage you and your pet to wait safely in the car until a room is ready for you. This means your cat won’t have a boisterous dog invading its space, reducing the potential for heightened stress.
9. Calming Environments to Set the Stage
From pheromone and aromatherapy that infuse calming odors into the air to pet-friendly classical music and non-slip surfaces to stand on to reduce pets’ fear of falling, the Fear Free environment is designed to soothe. Soft pastel-colored lab coats and scrubs, which may be less startling to animals than bright white, further enhance this “s’paw-like” ambiance.
10. Help for the Car Ride, Too!
Fear Free care starts at home. With the right coaching from a Fear Free Certified Professional, pets can be comfortable long before they reach the clinic. The Fear Free approach includes helping you enrich their environment, prepare your vehicle for them, and create a positive association with the carrier and car ride, ensuring pets are calm and comfortable when they arrive at the vet.
In conclusion, Fear Free care is not merely a trend; it’s a paradigm shift in veterinary care that recognizes the intricate link between emotional and physical health. As more pet owners become aware of its benefits, it’s no wonder they’re seeking out practices that prioritize the holistic well-being of their companions.
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Published October 2, 2023