What do you mean – fear free?  Picture Sally, a young woman about to enter an office.  See if you can guess where Sally is…

Sally opens the door and sees that the walls are covered in warm and tranquil colors, she hears the sounds of trickling water and soft music humming in the background, and the air is filled with a hint of lavender that immediately puts her at ease. Can you guess where Sally is?

Most might imagine that Sally has just entered a spa. However, Sally actually just entered her dentist office. What made the dentist want to change their office to resemble a spa? Remember that Sally was immediately put at ease….ah ha – we might be onto something.

Did you know that dentist rank as one of the most feared places to go?  Dentists have spent a long time researching how to get people into their offices. We all understand that dental health is important, but getting us to schedule an appointment and actually go is a whole other story. The next thing is how much anxiety do you have while you are there. They learned that massage chairs, TVs, warm colors, tranquil music and sounds all help the body relax and stay calm. Many dentists have adopted these principles when designing their offices. They care about our dental health and if we are more likely to commit to going to the dentist if we have a good experience, then why not make the change.

So how does this relate to veterinary medicine and becoming fear free? If doctor and dental offices can create a stress free environment for their patients, why shouldn’t veterinary hospitals take the necessary steps to achieve the same comfortable fear free experience for their patients? Well, at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital we are!

The Fear Free Initiative lead by America’s veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker, simply means we focus on your pet’s physical well-being as well as their emotional well-being. Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital believes a fear free initiative will allow us to continue to strengthen the human-animal bond.

The North American Veterinary Community and the American Animal Hospital Association have created VetFolio, a joint partnership. The Vetfolio team created an eight module certification program in conjunction with board-certified veterinary behaviorists, practice management experts, and veterinary technicians. The modules teach veterinary professionals how to create a calming fear free environment for patients, and educate clients on how to participate in achieving a fear free visit.

As the GVH team begins training to obtain certification, you may see some of the following changes designed to reduce stressful visits:

  • A blue towel sprayed with Feliway (a pheromone designed to help felines adjust to difficult situations) may be placed over your cat carrier or on the exam room table to calm our feline friends.
  • Music in our lobby and recovery areas will be kept below 60 decibels, which research shows is less stressful for patients.
  • Music selections will change to a more classical theme better suited to your pet’s sense of hearing.
  • Lower volume on phone ringers will be adopted throughout our office.
  • Our team may offer you a 5 minute “fun“ visit. To help reinforce that coming to the vet is not always a “bad” thing.
  • Our team may spoil your pet with treats as a distraction while performing certain procedures.