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Fear Free Certified

Can you imagine telling your dog, “Let’s go to the vet!” and seeing his or her tail wag? How about getting out your cat’s carrier and seeing him come running? You won’t need to imagine it if they visit the American Animal Hospital in Randolph, NJ. That’s because we are part of a new initiative sweeping veterinary medicine designed to ease the stress, fear, and anxiety so many pets experience while at the veterinarian.

About Fear Free

Developed by “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker, the Fear FreeSM initiative aims to “take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified’” and get pets back for veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments. Utilization of Fear Free methods and protocols leads to reduction or removal of anxiety triggers, which creates an experience that is rewarding and safer for all involved including pets, their owners, and veterinary healthcare teams. Learn more at www.fearfreepets.com. Known as Fear Free SM, the training and certification program helps veterinarians modify their procedures, handling, and facilities to help pets feel safe and comfortable while receiving the medical care they need.

Founded by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker, the Fear Free training program was developed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists, veterinary technician behavior specialists, board-certified veterinary anesthetists, well-known veterinary practice management experts, and boarded veterinary practitioners experienced in Fear Free methods.

“Providing veterinarians with the tools they need to ease this burden of fear and anxiety or our patients is the pinnacle of my 37-year veterinary career,” said Dr. Becker, who was dubbed “America’s Veterinarian” by Dr. Oz and appeared on “Good Morning America” for 17 years. “Veterinary professionals are hungry for this information. Animals and their humans need and deserve it. And now it’s here!” To become certified, veterinarians and veterinary staff are required to complete a comprehensive, 8-part educational course and exam. They also have to take continuing education to remain certified.

Our goal is to provide your pet with a fear-free experience. Our Fear Free certified staff ensures that your pet is cared for not on physically but emotionally as well during their visit. But a Fear-Free visit to your veterinarian doesn’t start when you and your pet arrive at the hospital. Review the tips and suggestions below to see how you can start your pet’s fear-Free experience while still at home.

Fear-Free Tips for Dogs

  • Use a harness with a fixed leash to allow for more control during their visit
  • On the day of the visit, only feed 1/4 of your dog’s breakfast. If they are hungry, your dog will respond more to food rewards during their visit.
  • Make the car ride enjoyable. Start by taking them on short car rides that end with their favorite treat or toy. Gradually make the rides longer until your pet is able to rest comfortably during travel.
  • If your dog is very anxious or reactive in the waiting, please notify the CSR when you arrive, and they’ll let you know when a room is available.
  • Try to speak in a low-toned voice. High pitches can increase your pet’s anxiety levels.
  • Let us know if your pet is better in the waiting room or even outside. The doctor can examine your pet in alternative areas to decrease stress.
  • Select soothing music in the car as it is thought to also calm your dog’s nerves.
  • Ask us if pre-visit sedation or pheromones may help take the edge off and keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

Fear-Free Tips for Cats

  • Consider investing in a cat carrier that opens from the top or one that is easily taken apart. This will make getting your cat out of the carrier much easier and stress-free. We can also examine your cat in the carrier if they are more comfortable.
  • Don’t just bring your cat’s carrier out when they need to get in it for a visit. Bring the carrier out several days ahead of time and put your cat’s favorite blanket and treats in it. The goal is to make the carrier a happy place and one where your cat isn’t afraid to spend time.
  • Call and ask the hospital for a sample of Feliway (feline pheromones). Wipe the inside of the carrier with the Feliway to help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Cover your cat’s carrier when traveling to reduce environmental stimuli.
  • When you arrive at the waiting room, place one of our towels that has been sprayed with Feliway over your cat’s carrier.
  • Ask us if pre-visit sedation would be of benefit to your cat

Pet owners who would like their pets to experience the Fear Free difference can schedule an appointment by calling 973-895-4999