What is Fear Free?

Founded in 2016, Fear Free provides online and in-person education to veterinary professionals, the pet professional community, and pet owners. Our courses are developed and written by the most respected veterinary and pet experts in the world, including boarded veterinary behaviorists, boarded veterinary anesthesiologists, pain experts, boarded veterinary internists, veterinary technicians (behavior), experts in shelter medicine, animal training, grooming, boarding, and more.

By closely listening to the needs of the profession and those of pet owners, Fear Free has become one of the single most transformative initiatives in the history of companion animal practice, providing unparalleled education on emotional wellbeing, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.

How To Prepare Your Pet For A Veterinary Visit

Your veterinary team needs your help to make your pet’s visit as Fear Free as possible. One thing you can do is to ensure that your pet gets to the veterinary hospital in a calm state of mind. The following tips will help you and your pet arrive in one piece and in peace.

Hungry Is good.

If medically appropriate, reduce the amount of food your pet eats before a veterinary visit. This can help prevent nausea with car travel as well as make the treats at the veterinary visit more appealing.

Treat bonanza

Bring 50 to 100 of your pet’s favorite treats but in tiny amounts. Cut them up if necessary. Your pet likes a variety of treats? Bring an assortment! Even your cat’s canned food might do the trick. Treats should be no larger than half a pea or a single lick. You might not use all of them, but it is better to have too many than not enough.

Favourite Toys and Grooming Brush

Bring some familiar items your pet likes. This will help your pet relax in the veterinary hospital. The veterinary team may ask you to use these items to help distract your pet during the visit

Travel Confinement Acclimation

Make sure your pet is acclimated to a carrier, crate, or seat belt harness and is not stressed by travel confinement.

Clothing Sprayed with Calming Pheromones or Lavender

Commercially available calming pheromones can help promote relaxation. The scent of lavender has been shown to have a calming effect on dogs during car travel. An item that smells like home, such as a blanket your pet sleeps on or a t-shirt you’ve worn can also provide comfort for your pet. For dogs, consider spraying a bandana with a calming pheromone and placing it on your dog’s neck. When you use pheromone sprays, allow the pheromone to dry for 10 to 15 minutes before exposing your pet to the sprayed item.

Budget Time

Budget plenty of time to avoid being rushed. If you are stressed, your pet will be too.

Relief of Bladder

Provide your pet with an opportunity to relieve himself prior to leaving your home and again before you go into the clinic. Nothing escalates stress more than having a full bladder or colon and no access to a bathroom.

Medication

If your veterinarian has prescribed any anti-nausea or anti-anxiety supplements or medications, make sure to give them as prescribed. Talk to your veterinarian if you think anti-nausea or anti-anxiety supplements or medications would help your pet have a more pleasant veterinary experience.

Acclimating your cat or dog to travel confinement

Make sure your pet is comfortable with confinement for travel. Carriers for cats and small dogs or crates or seatbelt harnesses for medium-size to large dogs are safe options for car travel. Use yummy treats to condition your dog to wearing a seatbelt harness. Keep the carrier/crate out in commonly used areas of the house at all times and incorporate some of these techniques to create a carrier/crate oasis: put your pet’s favorite toys or bedding near or in the carrier/crate; play with your pet near the carrier/crate; place a pheromone-infused towel or bed or an object of clothing permeated with your scent inside the confinement area; place treats, catnip (for our feline friends), or a rubber food puzzle toy with canned food inside the carrier; and feed your pet in or near the carrier/crate. Let your pet enter on his/her own. You can teach your pet to enter the carrier/crate on cue to earn a food reinforce, or toss a treat or toy into the carrier/crate. Need help? Ask your veterinarian who he or she recommends for Fear Free training.