Going to the doctor isn’t something most of us look forward to. Some people can even experience anxiety and stress related to visiting the doctor, and the same thing can happen for our pets when they’re taken from their comfortable and familiar surroundings into the overwhelming sights, sounds, and smells of the veterinary hospital.
In 2016, Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” created a program called Fear FreeSM in an effort to take the “pet” out of “petrified” and make veterinary visits better for all involved—pets, pet owners, and veterinary professionals.
What is Fear Free?
Veterinary professionals who are Fear Free certified (like Dr. Nieman) have extensive training on how to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. In the past, veterinary care often focused only on physical health, with no regard for an animal’s emotional well-being.
When an animal is scared, damage can be done to the brain and physiologic changes can occur within the body. But, when an animal’s physical and emotional well-being are considered, she will be more likely to cooperate for an exam, routine procedure, and diagnostic testing. Her physical exam will be more thorough and her diagnostic results will be more accurate.
Think about it: When you’re scared, what happens to your heart rate? Your breathing? Your blood pressure? All of these vital signs are altered when a pet is fearful, too.
How Neighborhood Vets is taking the fear out of veterinary visits
The team at Neighborhood Vets recognizes the importance of reducing fear and anxiety in pets, and Dr. Nieman is a Fear Free certified veterinarian. Here are 8 ways Neighborhood Vets is putting the “treat” back into veterinary treatments:
- Less NO time in the lobby — Because Neighborhood Vets is house-call based, your pet never has to leave the comforts of home for her veterinary exam, which means she won’t be exposed to unknown animals, sights, sounds, or smells that might make her feel nervous or scared.
- No more standing on a cold, slippery exam room table — Say goodbye to the sterile and cold exam table. Instead, Dr. Nieman will examine your pet on a soft, comfortable surface in a room of your choosing in your home.
- Eye contact with you, not your pet — Some pets feel stress when a person they don’t know well makes eye contact with them. Dr. Nieman will focus on you first and give your pet a chance to get used to him before he makes her feel like the center of attention by gazing into her eyes.
- Soothing scents — Dr. Nieman always smells great, but when he visits your pet, he’ll bring smells that only her species can detect, like natural pheromones (Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats) that serve to calm nerves.
- Treats! — Many pets are food motivated, and, if medically appropriate, Dr. Nieman might use some of your pet’s favorite treats (think peanut butter, cheese, or tuna) to distract her while he’s trimming her nails or palpating her abdomen.
- No more going to the “back” for routine treatments — Since Dr. Nieman will conduct his exam and any necessary treatments or procedures at your home, rather than at a brick-and-mortar veterinary hospital, your pet will never need to go to the “back” for things like vaccinations or blood draws. At your home, if you and your pet prefer, you can be by her side providing comfort throughout the entire visit.
- No bright white lab coats — Studies have shown that white lab coats incite feelings of anxiety. As a Fear Free certified veterinary professional, Dr. Nieman will wear more calming colors.
- Emotional response is noted — Dr. Nieman cares how your pet reacts emotionally during his visit with her. He’ll note her emotional response, along with what treats and techniques worked for her, so he can be sure to do what works best for her every time he visits.
Have questions about Fear Free or the techniques Dr. Nieman might use to reduce your pet’s fear, anxiety, or stress? Call us at 913-912-2319.