Your pet deserves a Fear Free Practice: Airdrie Animal Health Centre is the 13th certified Fear Free Practice in North America.
Most pet owners know that pets need regular veterinary care to stay happy and healthy, but many people dread bringing their fearful or anxious pet into the clinic. Managing a scared animal at the vet’s office can be challenging, thus many pets end up missing out on wellness visits and other important care. One study conducted by Bayer showed that almost 40% of dog owners and nearly 60% of cat owners report their pets hate going to the vet. We want to change that!
At Airdrie Animal Health Centre, we believe all pets deserve access to regular, quality, and low-stress veterinary care. We are committed to providing a calm, stress-free environment for our patients, which is why we have taken the steps necessary to achieve our Fear Free Certification.
What exactly is Fear Free Certification?
The Fear Free program was developed by Marty Becker, DVM, after recognizing the need to address the emotional well-being of patients in addition to their physical health. A panel of 160 veterinary and animal behaviour experts have come together to design best practices and recommendations for handling and interacting with pets to help them feel more at ease while visiting the vet.
The Fear Free certification program is designed to teach veterinary professionals:
- Gentle handling techniques
- How to recognize the subtle signs of fear in pets
- How to create positive environmental associations with the veterinary practice
Why is a Fear Free experience important?
It’s been well documented that veterinary visits can cause psychological damage to some pets. When animals have repeated exposure to an experience linked to a negative or traumatic event, it’s not easy to erase or reverse. This means that one bad veterinary visit won’t be quickly forgotten and make subsequent visits more difficult. Our goal is to restore trust and reprogram the pet’s mind to teach them not to react in fight-or-flight mode once they step in the clinic door.
We are proud to announce the completion of our Fear Free Certification here at Airdrie Animal Health Centre!
How is a Fear Free Practice different from other Vet Clinics?
We are proud to announce the completion of our Fear Free Certification here at Airdrie Animal Health Centre. We are continually working to make our practice as comfortable as possible for our patients by implementing the Fear Free techniques, which include:
- Learning about and applying gentle, fear free handling techniques that are proven to reduce stress
- Limited or no restraint when examining or treating a pet
- More time with each animal (this gives a pet more time to relax and build trust and a positive association)
- Tasty treats to keep pets occupied during examinations, blood draws, and vaccinations
- Methods of counter conditioning (like distracting a pet from potentially negative stimuli)
- Species-specific pheromone sprays in each exam room (can also be applied to kennels or towels draped over crates while waiting)
- Separate waiting and exam rooms for cats and dogs
- Skid-free mats on exam tables
- Getting on the pet’s level (if he or she doesn’t like the table, we’ll get down on the floor)
- Knowledge and prescription of various supplements or medications that can minimize fear, anxiety or stress
All staff at Airdrie Animal Health Centre strive to serve our community in a calm, compassionate way. We hope you and your pet see a difference! As the Fear Free program says, “…let’s take the PET out of petrified.”
Written by: Airdrie Animal Health Centre