What is the Fear Free Initiative?

Fear Free Initiative: Taking the Pet out of Petrified

Dr. Monica Tarantino

Fear Free is taking over at AMH and we cannot wait!

Let’s face it, we here at AMH love your animals… but they don’t always love us!  The concept that many animals experience anxiety, stress and fear at the vet is driving a new method of pet management at veterinary offices across the US.  This method is called Fear Free and is an initiative that changes the way we approach and handle animals starting from home, through waiting room, exam room and checkout.   At AMH, our doctors and staff are proud to be one of the first hospitals in the US to embrace this method.  Check out the below link to see a short video with Dr. Marty Becker and Dr. Deborah Horowitz, talk about the path to the Fear Free initiative ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV685GjC0ns ):

So, what should you expect?  Here’s a few things you’ll start seeing:


Here we are feeding a nervous, submissive pet treats in order to decrease stress before performing services.

  • Separate Dog and Cat Waiting Areas: we will be doing basic things like trying to keep our dog and cat friends in separate areas in the waiting room to help decrease stress.
  • Take A Walk or Wait in the Car: for dogs, allow them to walk outside in designated areas while you wait. For cats, if the waiting room seems stressful, ask the front desk staff if you can wait in your car with your cat until their room is ready.

3) Withholding Food/Treat Rewards:  To help us bond with your pets even more, please withhold food from your pet prior to coming to see us (unless medically contraindicated). Treat rewards allow us to create a more positive experience at the vet!

Fear free socialization- some cats like their exams on a lap rather than a table!

4) Low Stress Pheromone Sprays: prior to your exam room appointment, our staff sprays exam rooms and towels with pheromone sprays designed to decrease stress.  We have both a cat specific pheromone spray and a dog specific pheromone spray.  Our staff is consistently doing this prior to all our appointments with your beloved animal to assist in creating a low stress visit.

5) Low Stress Holding and Management Techniques: our staff actively practices low stress animal holding techniques (see picture below of our technician Jess G. expertly holding our feisty kitty friend).  Each of your pets are special and unique and we approach them as such using body language cues, previous exam tips and other methods to help figure out what works best for them! Our hope is to help make the experience your pet has with us a positive one.




Here our technician Jess expertly holds a feisty cat with minimal restraint.

Please stay tuned for more future blogs on Fear Free at AMH and how it will impact you. Ultimately, we hope that we can create changes that help reduce stress as much as reasonably possible for your beloved pet.  As always, thank you for trusting your beloved pets with our care.







Why Does My Pet Need Fish Oils?

The Little Magic Pill: Fish Oils

Dr. Mari-Ashli Foy

Itchy skin? Achy joints? Kidney disease? Heart disease? What do all 4 of these medical problems have in common? Studies over the years have shown that with this simple addition to your pets diet, there are numerous benefits to be gained.  On the human side of things, we hear all the time about adding essential omega-3 fatty acids to our diet. However, many do not know what these essential fats are why they are important.


What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a part of a group of fats known as essential fats. These essential fats are those that are not made by the body and instead must be consumed.  Examples of food that contain omega-3’s include primarily food from the fish family such as salmon, tuna, and trout. The other group of essential fatty acids are known as omega-6’s, can be found in plant oils and nuts like walnuts, flaxseed, and sunflower oil. Most of the pet foods animals consume have more of the omega-6 fatty acids, than omega-3 fatty acids.  To ensure a well balanced diet and help with certain medical conditions, the addition of fish oils have become an important part of veterinarians diet recommendations.

What can these fish oils do for my pet?

Below are just a few examples of  how omega-3 fatty acids can positively impact the health of your pet.  Always remember to check with your veterinarian before adding fish oils to your pet’s diet. They will be able to advise you on an appropriate dosage based on the amount of omega-6’s and omega-3’s your pet is already consuming. It is imporfoy-2tant that there is an appropriate balance of these two essential fatty acids to provide well rounded coverage.

  1. Inflammatory skin disorders: If you’ve noticed that your furry friend has been scratching more than usual, even with a monthly flea medication, try adding fish oils to his/her treatment regimen. Fish oils help with inflammation caused by allergies and will leave your pet’s coat looking shinier than ever!
  2. Osteoarthritis: Arthritis is a natural part of growing old. Studies have shown consistent use of fish oils in arthritic patients can improve weight bearing and lameness.
  3. Kidney Disease: Protective to the kidneys. Will help with hypertension which is damaging to the kidneys. Additionally, it has been shown to lessen the amount of protein in the urine.
  4. Heart Disease: Reduces the frequency of arrythmias. Decreases inflammation associated with chronic heart disease and heart failure patients.


Favorite Brands

  1. Nature Made Fish Oil
  2. Welactin Canine Liquid or Softgel
  3. Welactin Feline Liquid or Softgel