Fear Free

close-up of cat being pet

Fear Free and What It Means

Dr. Hicks and Dr. Snow are both proud to be Fear Free Certified Veterinarians.

The Fear Free course and certification provides education to veterinarians and their team members on the “emotional wellbeing, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets”.

What this means for your pet is simple – happier veterinary visits!

First off, you will not find a “white-coat” on any of our medical professionals. White-coat syndrome has been documented in both pets and people. We know that vet visits can be scary and most of the scary things happen after that individual with the bright white jacket comes into the room. While we aim to prevent any dog from being scared or stressed during their visit, many of our patients have already experienced the “white coat” from other medical facilities. It has also been suggested that due to the differences in animal eyesight – solid white may seem startling (almost glowing) to pets.

At Harbor View, we make sure each new puppy gets an extended examination so that there is ample time to educate new pet parents on socialization, behavior training, and ways to reduce stress and anxiety. We know that many of our adult canine patients come to us with behavioral concerns such as noise phobias (thunderstorms, fireworks, construction), separation anxiety, and leash reactivity. Our philosophy is that it’s better to avoid developing these behaviors rather than try to modify them.

Each of our patients—canine or feline—gets offered a variety of high-value treats during their examination, vaccinations, and/or any testing. Peanut butter, Easy Cheese, Reddi Whip, Churu… you get the idea!

Calming pheromones are used throughout the hospital as well as classical music to help drown out any loud or unusual sounds that can be seen as stressors.

And last but not least, when necessary, we rely on Pre-Visit Pharmaceuticals. Just like some individuals may have a fear of flying or spiders, pets can also have stress and fear about coming to the vet that our previously mentioned techniques simply cannot overcome on their own. We know that every time our patients experience a stressful event it reinforces their fear which only escalates their behavior for their next visit. To help combat this stress/fear we often dispense sedatives for patients to use before their visits. These are specialty medications used only when necessary and not something your pet would take daily.

If a behavior consultation is needed, rest assured that our team likes to start with calming products, nutraceuticals, and behavior modification before prescribing daily, long-term medication. We’ve got you covered!