A cat curled up in a towel

For as long as we’ve been taking care of pets, making your pet’s visit a fear free experience has been a top priority. We care deeply about our pet patients, and helping them through a veterinary exam or treatment with as little stress and anxiety is important to us. A fear free experience at the vet also makes future vet visits easier on you!

Since the Fear Free initiative was launched in 2016, veterinary hospitals across the country have been participating in a certification program that trains veterinary teams how to provide a fear free experience for pets.

Androscoggin Veterinary Hospital is proud that our staff and doctors have undergone this special training to ensure that your pet’s visit is as stress free as possible.

It’s In the Details

At its core, fear free is about adapting our facility and our team’s approach to meet your pet’s individual needs and make them feel more comfortable.

Here are some things that go into the details of a fear free environment at our practice.

No eye contact – animals are often uncomfortable when they are in new environments. To reduce this anxiety, we will avoid eye contact with your pet when they first arrive, while still paying close attention to your pet’s body language and physical cues.

The treats have it – many pets are motivated by food, so we’ll use treats – lots of them! – to reward, distract, and motivate your pet during the exam and treatments. With treats, we can often earn their trust. Special treats like spray cheese (really!) are on hand for extra help, but if you have treats your pet especially likes, feel free to bring them.

No dogs allowed – there is nothing more stressful for a cat than being greeted by an exuberant dog. Sitting in the same area and making eye contact with a dog can turn a cat into an anxiety ridden mess. To avoid this stress, we have two separate waiting areas for cats and dogs. We also have a separate cat-only exam room, full of toys and cat trees for them to climb and play on!

A dog being given a treat

Non slip surfaces – dogs who are older, ill, or injured may be stressed by slippery floors and exam table surfaces. We use yoga mats and towels to provide a cushioned, non-slip surface for them to stand on when we examine them. This small comfort can significantly reduce anxiety for our older patients.

Pheromones abound – pheromones can put our cat and dog patients at ease. We use Feliway and Adaptil diffusers and wipes throughout our hospital to achieve this effect.

Keep calm but don’t always carry on – there may be many things we want to accomplish during your pet’s exam. But we are aware of how much each individual can tolerate in any given day. Your pet’s emotional well being is important to us. We will make sure to do the critical things first, and save the rest for last. That way, if it seems like they are at the end of their tolerance, we can try again another day.

Fear Free and Loving It

Providing a fear free experience for your pet is such a gratifying feeling for us. We understand that their emotional health is just as important as their physical well being. Winning a pet’s trust and being able to make a potentially scary experience easier for pets is extremely rewarding, and leads to better outcomes for the patient. That’s why being a fear free practice is so important to us!
We are looking forward to showing you more about what the fear free experience is like at Androscoggin Veterinary Hospital. Schedule an appointment today!