Fear Free

“Dr. Gorbea is the best vet I have ever had! She does an excellent job with my dog, who hates shots. She is very knowledgeable and understands animal behavior. All the staff is very kind and professional as well.” -Ashlynne S., Google Review

When searching for a veterinarian, pet owners consider many factors from reviews, to distance, to the capabilities of rendering specific services. Have you ever considered practice philosophy as part of that initial “interview” process with a new veterinarian? It seems as if all animal medical facilities should be created equal, but we pet parents know better! Do you have a pet that gets easily stressed by vet visits?

Consider a practice that has Certified Fear-Free Veterinarians!

When Plymouth Veterinary Hospital underwent renovations, we not only considered reconfiguring our space to allow for more exam rooms and fancy new recovery kennels; we chose to take details like paint colors into consideration to make our practice feel like home to our clients and to encourage calm behavior in our patients. We have chosen to keep our palette for our exam rooms in the realm of suggested colors according to Fear-Free standards, by sticking to pastels. These are just a couple of changes we included in our renovations!

Some of our client’s chuckle at the calm “spa”-type music that is played in our exam rooms, but our little speakers provide function as well. The speakers in our exam rooms serenade your pet with frequency-modified, species-specific music that is clinically proven to reduce stress. We also include bins of toys for our patients to enjoy during their visit, massaging brushes to help calm nerves, and a variety of treats so we can make fast friends. We also have cat and dog pheromone sprays that are calming to pets, which we spray on our clothing, exam or treatment room towels or on bandanas that we tie onto our canine patients if allowed by the owner.

From our shiny, new, textured floors to the practice letters adorning the side of our building, our standard of care focuses on providing every person and pet with the highest quality of care, inside and out! We are continually learning and searching for effective methods to better serve our clients and community by implementing best practices, which is why we feel the Fear-Free philosophy fits so well in our hospital. Although our veterinary hospital is not yet Fear Free Certified, we are thankful to have individual staff members who have taken the initiative to become Fear-Free certified and those who are currently studying toward certification.

What can pet parents do to help keep the visit Fear-Free? Bring them in hungry! We love giving treats so we can make friends with your pets, distract them from procedures, and reward them. If you have a particularly nervous pet, you could bring a personal item from home (bed, towel, blanket) or their favorite treats for us to give them. If your pet prefers to be in your arms, we’ll work with that; certain checks (like checking pulse or heart rate) can be done while on your lap. We can provide services in the room, but if a family member isn’t comfortable watching or prefers not to see needles, we have a spacious treatment area where we can provide pet services.

Medications can be administered in certain circumstances to help reduce anxiety during a visit as well. If we’ve seen your pet before and you feel like your pet stressed or anxious during visits, please let us know so we can provide options. We can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for your pet in efforts to accommodate their needs as much as we can before they make it in for their exam. We record tips, tricks, and techniques for each pet in our medical records to support communication between technicians to make for smooth, consistent visits. If interested, the same pheromone sprays (Adaptil for dogs, Feliway for cats) used by our office are available for purchase to help reduce stress on the car ride over. Implementing the Fear-free philosophy may not eliminate a pet patient’s fear, anxiety, or stress. Still, it gives guidelines to medical professionals to reduce negative feelings and connotations of veterinary visits and turn them into positive and mindful experiences!

To learn more, check out: https://fearfreehappyhomes.com