651-224-3038   •   1140 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Fear Free Certification – Part 1

December 26, 2016

We are proud and excited to have recently become Fear Free Certified! This means that all 15 members of our staff, from front desk to our veterinarians, have completed an 8 module course and exam to become Fear Free Professionals. Although we love our patients, not all of our patients love coming to see us. Veterinary visits can be scary and overwhelming for some pets. The Fear Free certification program is designed to ease the stress, fear and anxiety that many pets experience when coming to a veterinary hospital.

This program was developed by a group of veterinarians and technicians that specialize in behavior and anesthesia. The goal is to help us modify our procedures, handling and facilities to help our patients feel safe and comfortable while receiving the medical care they need. There is certainly not a “one size fits all” and this initiative aims for individualized and positive veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach (how we interact with your pet) and gentle control techniques (how we touch and restrain for exam and procedures) in calming environments (our waiting area and exam rooms). The goal is to reduce or even remove anxiety triggers and provide an experience that is rewarding and safer for everyone involved including the pets, the pet owners and our staff.

Upcoming blog posts will give specific information and tips for both cat and dog visits….things you can do at home and on the way to the clinic and also what to expect when you arrive. http://grandavevet.com/fear-free-part-2-dogs/, http://grandavevet.com/fear-free-part-3-cats/Generally speaking, you’ll see us talking quietly and trying to limit the number of times we are in and out of the exam rooms. We also try to limit the time spent in the waiting area and avoid congestion at the front desk. We want your pets to come hungry so they will be more interested in taking treats from us (assuming there’s no medical reason not to). Treats and foods such as peanut butter, spray cheese and canned food are key to good distraction during visits. You may notice us doing more check outs in the exam rooms or asking you to wait in the room for a bit after the exam while we prepare medications or handouts.

Although our waiting area is relatively small, we are making some adjustments in the use of space and location of benches and tables to allow for more space and privacy to wait with your pet in the event that we don’t have an exam room available upon your arrival.

We are taking detailed notes and observations at each visit of what works well or doesn’t work well for each pet. Our hope and goal that the things we learn about your pet will help us do a better job at each visit, striving for the most relaxed and comfortable experience possible.

To learn more, visit www.fearfreepets.com

Dr. Heather Stadtherr, Grand Avenue Veterinary Center


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