Posted on August 13, 2017
Fear Free Approach is Thriving
Representatives from the Fear Free Certification Program recently announced that approximately 5,500 veterinary professionals have achieved certification status and 14,000 more are in the midst of doing so. These are some monumental statistics given that the Fear Free approach was conceptualized just a few short years ago by Dr. Marty Becker, a wonderfully innovative and caring veterinarian. When he first told me about this new idea percolating in his brain, he was over-the-top excited. His mantra, “Take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified,” has caught on big time and his Fear Free Program has provided a win-win-win situation for veterinary professionals, their clients, and, most importantly, their patients.
In developing Fear Free, Dr. Becker recruited a 160-member advisory panel including practicing veterinarians, technicians, hospital and animal shelter designers, board certified veterinary anesthesiologists, and specialists in animal behavior.
Fear Free objectives
The objectives of the practice of fear free veterinary medicine include:
- Reduction or removal of anxiety triggers that can cause pets to become fearful at home during house call visits or en route to and within the veterinary hospital
- Enhancement of the quality of medicine
- Increased compliance with treatment recommendations
- Improved safety for the veterinary team
“The success of this program is owed to three main factors,” says Dr. Becker. “First, Fear Free is the right thing to do; nobody gets involved with veterinary medicine to make life worse for animals. Second, Fear Free allows veterinary professionals to practice a higher quality of medicine while elevating care for their patients. Finally, pet owners are actively searching for individuals with certification to take care of their pets, so practitioners are flocking to certification because of market demand.”
In order to achieve Fear Free Certification status, students immerse themselves in learning about a variety of topics examples of which include canine and feline behavior and body language, ways to minimize stress in the waiting room, gentle handling techniques, the use of treats and pheromones, and the use of complementary therapies and medications that can help reduce fear, anxiety, and stress.
Dr. Thomas Meyer, current president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, expressed his feelings about Fear Free by stating, “Fear Free has added an amazing fresh perspective in our professional interactions with our patients and clients. Our entire veterinary team has bonded to make sure each pet’s visit is a positive and enjoyable experience. Our clients see how we embrace the human-animal bond by our commitment to a Fear Free visit. This is a game changer and must for every pet.”
What Fear Free things happen at your veterinary hospital?
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at http://www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.