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:
- 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!
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.
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.