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Green Eyed Cat

Fear Free FAQs

We know that a Fear Free approach to your furry family members' care may be a little different from what you're used to. That's why we've worked to put together a list of the most common questions and reactions we see, when patients are transitioning to Fear Free thinking. 

Read through the questions and answers below - and please reach out, if you still have questions about how Fear Free appointments can support the health and wellbeing of your pet(s).

What is the Fear Free Approach?


Q: What exactly does "Fear Free" mean?

A: The Fear Free approach in veterinary care focuses on reducing fear, anxiety, and stress in pets during their visits to the clinic. It involves a combination of gentle handling techniques, a calming environment, and, when necessary, Pre-Visit Pharmaceuticals (PVPs) to ensure a positive experience for your pet.

You can learn more about our Fear Free approach on these pages: 

Why We Use the Fear Free Approach

Q: Why don't you just restrain my pet if they're difficult during visits? Isn't that faster?

A: While restraint might seem faster, it can cause significant stress and fear in pets, leading to a negative association with veterinary care. This can make future visits more difficult and even dangerous. The Fear Free approach aims to build trust and reduce stress, making veterinary visits safer and more positive for everyone involved.

About Pre-Visit Pharmaceuticals (PVPs)

Q: Are you going to medicate my pet every time they visit? I'm concerned about overmedication.

A: Not every visit requires medication. We assess each pet's needs individually and recommend PVPs only when necessary to manage anxiety or stress. Our goal is to use the minimum intervention needed to ensure a positive experience, focusing on your pet's overall well-being.

Q: Will my pet always need PVPs? 

A: Not necessarily. While it can take some time to build up positive experiences and help them realize that vet visits aren't a threat, once that happens we can consider reducing (or eliminating) PVP use. This does take time - we suggest giving it 8-10 visits - but we're committed to building Fear Free relationships with our furry patients. Our goal is to build lifetime relationships with our pets and their caretakers - so we're here with you for the long game!

Concerns About Additional Costs

Q: Does Fear Free mean higher costs for visits?

A: Some aspects of Fear Free care, like certain calming techniques or PVPs, might involve additional costs. However, investing in a Fear Free experience can lead to more efficient visits, better health outcomes, and potentially fewer visits over time due to improved well-being, offsetting initial costs. 

Aggressive or Extremely Fearful Pets

Q: My pet is very aggressive/fearful at the vet. How can Fear Free help?

A: Fear Free is especially beneficial for pets with aggressive or fearful behaviors. By reducing their stress and fear, we can often prevent these behaviors from escalating. This approach allows us to care for your pet more effectively and safely, improving their overall veterinary experience. 

What About the Effectiveness of This Approach?

Q: Does Fear Free really work? I'm skeptical that it can make a difference.

A: Absolutely, Fear Free techniques are based on veterinary behavior science and have been shown to significantly reduce stress, fear, and anxiety in pets during veterinary visits. Many pet owners report seeing a noticeable difference in how their pets respond to veterinary care after switching to a Fear Free approach.

Concerns About Time and Convenience

Q: Will Fear Free appointments take longer than regular appointments?

A: Initially, Fear Free appointments might take slightly longer as we work to ensure your pet is calm and comfortable. However, as your pet becomes more accustomed to the Fear Free approach, you may find that visits become quicker and smoother, with less time spent managing stress or fear-related behaviors.

Choosing Not to Follow Fear Free Recommendations

Q: What if I choose not to follow Fear Free recommendations for my pet?

A: We understand that every pet owner has their own perspective, and we respect your decisions. However, our practice is founded on Fear Free beliefs. We encourage you to try the Fear Free approach, as it's designed with your pet's best interest in mind. If you have concerns or prefer not to follow certain recommendations, let's discuss how we can best support your pet's health and comfort, up to and including forwarding your patient files to another vet of your choosing.

How Pet Owners Can Support the Fear Free Approach

Q: How can I help make my pet's visit Fear Free?

A: Great question! You play a crucial role in your pet's veterinary experience. Here are some at home tips and strategies that can help. These include familiarizing your pet with their carrier and bringing along a favorite blanket, toy, or treat. Your involvement is key to a successful Fear Free experience!

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