Jun 24

What is Fear Free℠?

When you make a commitment to an animal to be their caretaker, advocate, and have them become a member of the family, you make them a promise that you will do everything in your power to do what is best for them. That means having the best doctors and technicians involved in their care, gathering as much information to allow you to make informed decisions about their health, and also tending to their physical and emotional needs.

This challenges the veterinary team to provide not only recommendations for your pet’s physical well-being, but their emotional well-being as well. A certification program was created by Dr. Marty Becker in 2016 and is an online and in-person education program for veterinary professionals, the professional pet community and pet owners. This program focuses on providing education on our pet’s emotional well-being, environmental enrichment and the overall reduction of fear, anxiety and stress in our pets.

The goal of this blog series is to provide a multi-part snapshot of the Fear Free program and provide valuable resources for pet owners to turn to for more information to aid in solidifying the bond between them and the animals in their lives.

What is the Fear Free program and how will I know that my veterinarian or their technicians are certified? This program encompasses multiple levels of certification of online training through podcasts and lectures, with testing to follow, as well as additional continuing education requirements for each year of certification. Most veterinary professionals will include this in their email signature or proudly wear their Fear Free Certified Professional pin, stethoscope tag, or treat pouch.

Should I be concerned if my veterinarian is not certified? No need for concern. Commonly, veterinarians employ the Fear Free techniques without even knowing it. The certification program points out these techniques and teaches veterinarians how to be even better yet and hone their skills to their fullest extent.

How can I find a Fear Free Certified Veterinary Professional? Using the link below, you can search for a Fear Free Certified Practice or Individual. The Practice Certification was released in 2018 and many practices are currently working on completing the requirements to be certified.

Why is this program so important? Reducing a patient’s fear, anxiety and stress (FAS) can help to create a more manageable and cooperative patient, a better patient and client experience, and provides a safer and more efficient work environment for the veterinary health care team. It aids in strengthening client relationships, improves client retention and the frequency of patient visits.

Imagine how great it would feel to take your pet to the veterinary hospital and know they are in the hands of a kind and compassionate professional whose goal is to tend to their physical and emotional well-being. Dr. Becker notes in his recent publication that there has been a decrease in veterinary visits due to the pet’s perceived emotional stress and the stress an owner feels surrounding the visit. Our goal as Fear Free Certified Professionals is to provide you and your pets with the best possible medical care that is free of fear, anxiety and stress.

Next time, we will discuss how Fear Free starts at home, an look into how we as owners can help to make our pets more comfortable prior to their appointments. 

Meaghan Ropski, DVM

Meaghan Ropski, DVM
Fear Free℠ Certified Professional

“From Fearful to Fear Free℠” written by Marty Becker, Lisa Radosta, Wailani Sung, and Mikkel Becker

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