Fear Free is a series of training protocols for veterinary professionals, trainers and pet owners on the reduction of fear, anxiety and stress in pets. Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic is a Fear Free Certified Practice, and all of our veterinarians, nurses, assistants and client service representatives are proudly Fear Free Certified Professionals.

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Fear Free Certification

Fear Free Certified Professional

As a Fear Free Certified Practice, we are committed to reducing fear, anxiety and stress in our patients to create a better visit and healthier pet.

Fear Free protocols at our hospital include understanding and knowing how to respond to and address signs of stress in pets, helping clients plan ahead for lower-stress appointments, creating a calm environment in our hospital and more.

All of our veterinarians are Fear Free Certified Professionals who have undergone extensive training on how to create a calm and welcoming environment for pets and how to recognize when an animal is feeling fearful or anxious and in need of a different approach.

Fear Free Certified, Brodheadsville Vet

Fear Free Techniques

Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic is dedicated to decreasing stress, anxiety, and fear in our patients while offering the best veterinary care possible.

Some of the things that we do to create a positive experience for your pet's visit to our clinic include offering treats, KONGS, mats, and hiding spaces. Some other steps that we take include allowing cats to stay in their carriers or dogs to sit on their family's laps, pre-visit medications if needed, and modifications to our handling techniques.

Fear Free principles have been incorporated into the design of our animal clinic, including separate cat and dog areas.

We feel that following these Fear Free principles makes our delivery of patient care a more gentle and positive experience for our patients and their owners.

Our veterinarians have worked hard at becoming certified in Fear Free as part of their dedication to providing outstanding veterinary care, and we feel confident that your pet will appreciate their Fear Free approach.

How We Implement Fear Free

At our veterinary clinic, our veterinarians are trained in Fear Free practices and philosophies, and the basic principles of this approach are integrated throughout the clinic, coming second only to your pet's medical care.

At Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic we use Fear Free practices to help all of our patients have a relaxed, stress-free experience whenever they visit us.

We work with our patients and their families to take the following steps before and during appointments:

  • Communication Between Pets & People

    It's important to learn how our pets can be communicating signs of stress to us.

    These signs can include a number of subtle and obvious signals, from a tense expression or dilated pupils to growling, hissing, or a tucked tail.

    We also discuss the pet's known stressors with the owner such as sounds, scents, discomfort, disease processes, and unfamiliar people.

    Getting to know our canine and feline clients and understanding what can cause them stress and how they communicate that stress helps us better manage it during their visits.

    We ask the family to speak up if there is something that causes their pet fear, anxiety, or stress. We can help!

  • Planning Ahead

    An anxiety-free veterinary appointment starts at home. Let us know if your pet gets stressed going to the vet and we're happy to offer suggestions for things to do at home before the visit. There may be options to send supplements or medication home before a vet visit to help with car sickness or to help decrease stress levels.

    If your pet gets stressed coming into the lobby or meeting new people or other animals, we can have you wait in the car or in our outside waiting area then come directly into the exam room. We have several entrances to help.

    Let us know if your pet does better with male or female vets.

    We suggest acclimating cats and small- to medium-sized dogs to their carriers by leaving the carrier out in an area of the home where the pet likes to be. ​Place a towel over the top of the carrier to help create a safe place with familiar scents.

    The carrier should be outfitted with toys, soft, comfortable bedding, or a non-slip mat, and the top should be detachable to make it more accessible.

    You can also spray cat or dog pheromones in the carrier or, for larger dogs, onto a bandana.

    If transporting a medium to large dog, be sure to use an approved restraint device in the car. The drive to the vet can be kept low-stress with calm music or silence and avoiding sudden stops or starts if possible.

    Bring your pet's favorite treats or toys to the vet visit.

  • A Calm, Quiet Environment

    We do our best to keep the atmosphere calm, quiet, and positive in our vet clinic.

    To help reduce your pet's stress in the waiting area, keep cats and dogs separated as much as possible. Cat carriers should be kept off of the floor and on a sturdy table or chair. Keep your dog leashed and close to your side to minimize interaction with other waiting pets.

    When you arrive, you and your pet will receive a warm and friendly welcome. We want you to know that you and your pet are our priority.

    Because cats and dogs can often be sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements, our veterinary team will remain calm, speak in quiet voices and approach your pet in a slow, careful manner during the appointment.

  • Treats & Toys

    To encourage a positive experience and decrease fear, stress, and anxiety during a vet visit, rewards such as treats, toys or petting/brushing can be used during an exam or when running diagnostics as long as it is not contrary to the pet's wellbeing, based on why they are visiting the clinic.

    We have treats throughout the hospital, but if your cat or dog is on a special diet, we encourage you to bring their treats or food with you to the visit.

  • Sedation & Restraint Options

    Our staff is trained in taking a gentle, considerate approach. We use treats, petting, and toys as distractions during procedures that may cause fear, anxiety, or stress to a pet. Families are allowed to remain with their pets during procedures (excluding sedation, anesthesia, X-Rays, and outside of regular clinic hours.). The staff will direct families on how they can help to ensure lower stress for their pet and to keep staff and family safe during the procedure.

    In some cases, we will reschedule a procedure if the pet is too stressed. This allows us to send home medications before performing the procedures.

    If restraint is required during a procedure, our trained staff may use a towel wrap, a muzzle, or an Elizabethan collar to make sure that the patient is safe and comfortable. A mild sedative may be recommended to make sure that the procedure can be performed safely and is less stressful for the patient.

    If you know beforehand that your pet experiences anxiety or stress when visiting the vet, it may be beneficial for the veterinarian to provide you with a mild sedative to give to your pet at home prior to an appointment

Exploring Fear Free Techniques for Pets

Experience a seamless and stress-free journey from home to the vet's office with our fear-free techniques. We prioritize your pet's emotional comfort to ensure a positive veterinary experience. 

Watch the videos below to learn more about Fear Free techniques.