Fear Free

How Fear Free Certified® practices benefit veterinarians, too.

How Fear Free Certified® practices benefit veterinarians, too.

Fear Free is a veterinary ethos that prioritizes pets' emotional and physical wellbeing. Specific processes are implemented to reduce their feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress, such as species-specific lobbies, specially designed exam rooms, and gentle control techniques. In fact, Papaya Pet Care is a Fear Free Certified® veterinary clinic, meaning your pet's entire care team is familiar with these practices—and, if you're intrigued, you can learn more about Fear Free here.

Fear Free is obviously great for pets...but did you know that it makes a huge difference in veterinarians' jobs too? No two days look the same for a veterinary professional; they have to be ready for whatever comes their way. The Fear Free ethos gives veterinary professionals crucial tools to expertly navigate stressful situations, maintain an exceptionally high-quality level of care, and keep everyone safe. 

Prevents Aggression  

Veterinarians might encounter traumatized cats and dogs who would prefer to be anywhere but the vet. A stressed pet may act out of character, even lashing out aggressively at their owner or care team. With sharp teeth and claws, this can be dangerous.

Fear Free clinics are designed to help prevent this from happening in the first place, with soothing lobbies (complete with calming pheromone diffusers) and shorter waiting times. Delicious treats, brushing, or toys might distract a pet from the most unpleasant moments during their exam—and maintain the pet's sense of safety. Plus, we'll pause an appointment if the pet becomes too stressed. There's no reason to aggravate an animal to the point of aggression, especially if it's a routine checkup.

Encourages Clear Communication 

Communication between the pet parent, the pet, and the veterinary health care team is central to success. Fear Free Certified vets will know how to identify species-specific signs of stress in cats or dogs. Moreover, the pet parent is informed at every step of the exam what the veterinary team is doing and how it benefits the pet. Effective, transparent communication builds trust between the pet parent and the veterinarian, also providing education on better caring for anxious cats or dogs.  


Makes it Easier to Deliver Care 

Common signs of stress among animals include increased heart rate, panting, and pacing. This doesn't lend well to collecting vital health information. In fact, a veterinarian might have a hard time getting an accurate picture of a pet's health if they're stressed. On the other hand, if an animal is calm and relaxed, it's much easier to collect their vitals, get their temperature, draw blood, take a look in their ears, or whatever else the particular exam entails. Beyond providing better care, Fear Free practices lead to more efficient exams. 

Improves Morale Among Care Team

Interacting with stressed animals can be dangerous and make delivering care more difficult. In the end, behavior-related issues might prevent a pet from getting the treatment they really need—which can negatively impact any veterinarian teams' morale. Fortunately, these scenarios can often be avoided with patience and Fear Free techniques. With Fear Free training, veterinary professionals will have a better understanding of why a pet may be distressed, such as an environmental trigger or someone's body language. Once the underlying issue is found and removed, the veterinary team might have an easier interaction with the pet.

Builds Long-Term Friendships 

It takes time to earn the trust of cats and dogs who have had unpleasant experiences at the vet, but a lifelong friendship is worth every minute. For instance, we created the Papaya Comfort Visit™: a non-exam visit for the pet to become acquainted with our space and their care team, ultimately building a more positive association with vet visits. Not only will the pet feel more comfortable in our clinic, but the care team has the opportunity to get to know the pet and the pet parent. That way, we're better prepared for a more urgent appointment. 

Fear Free isn't a fad—and it's transforming the veterinary experience for both pets and people. According to a 2020 survey of veterinary professionals: 

* 96% agree patient care has improved since implementing Fear Free 
* 92% say their practice enjoys a more positive image 
* 85% noticed an increase in client visits 
* 93% reported an increase in workplace safety 

More importantly, Fear Free improves the human-animal bond. It gives us a deeper understanding of animal's emotions. It reminds us of why we love coming into work every morning: to have a positive impact on others' lives.


The information in this blog is reviewed and approved by the Fear Free Certified veterinarians at Papaya Pet Care.

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