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Fear Free Certified Practice
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Mews Of The Year: We’re Now A Fear Free Certified Practice

July 6 2023

Here at Santaluz Animal Care, we’re pawsitively thrilled to announce that we’re now an official Fear Free certified practice.

Of course, if you tell your four-legged friend that, you’ll probably just get a confused head tilt, or perhaps an unimpressed yawn. And the word ‘certification’ isn’t likely to get the same adorable reaction out of Fido as ‘treat’ or ‘walk’ would.

But while your furry pal may not understand what that certification means, they’ll definitely notice when our staff treats them with kindness and compassion. 

Becoming an official Fear Free Certified Practice in Rancho Santa Fe, CA means we’re committed to going above and beyond to keep our patients calm and comfortable during appointments. 

No wonder the puparazzi are so excited!

What Is A Fear Free Certified Practice?

Fear Free is an approach and organization which focuses on utilizing gentle handling techniques to reduce anxiety and fright in animals. The method has been hailed as one of the most important, positive, and transformative changes in animal care.

The official Fear Free program offers courses and certifications for veterinary professionals, including both practice and individual certification. There are also courses available for shelters, as well as for those working in other aspects of the greater animal care industry, such as boarding, grooming, and training.

A Fear Free certified veterinarian or practice has completed the courses and training, indicating their dedication to this kinder, gentler approach.

Becoming a Fear Free Certified Practice in Carmel Valley, CA represents our commitment to not just great veterinary care and excellent customer service, but to kindness and compassion.

The History Of Fear Free

Fear Free was started by Dr. Marty Becker back in 2016. If his name sounds familiar, it’s with good reason. A New York Times best-selling author whose books include Chicken Soup For The Dog Lover’s Soul, Dr. Becker was the veterinary contributor on Good Morning America for 17 years, and appeared on the show several times. 

Dr. Becker has been one of the most prominent voices when it comes to speaking about the human-animal bond, something we’re also very passionate about.

“We know that pets have rich emotions, just like humans do,” Becker notes in one of his videos. “We want pets to not just be physically healthy, but emotionally healthy as well.”

We couldn’t agree more. 

That’s why becoming a Fear Free certified practice in Carmel Valley, CA means so much to us.

Why Choose A Fear Free Certified Veterinarian?

By going with a Fear Free vet, you’ll know you’ve chosen someone with a professional, compassionate demeanor. Someone who is driven by kindness and a love for animals. Someone who is committed to incorporating those things into their practice.

Someone who knows Fido and Fluffy aren’t necessarily thrilled to see them, and will do anything and everything possible to soothe them.

It’s no surprise that our furry companions get very nervous at the clinic. Most of our patients would rather take a nap than come to see us. But while that can make for some cute jokes, it’s really no laughing matter. 

Unfortunately, that anxiety just doesn’t make for an unpleasant experience for Fido and Fluffy: it can affect their care. It can be very difficult, and even dangerous, to examine a dog or cat when they’re frightened and struggling. Once Fido and Fluffy start to react fearfully, even the best, most professional team can have trouble handling them. In severe cases, this can compromise the pet’s care, and may even pose a danger to our team. 

Plus, anxiety can cause higher blood pressure, elevated heart rates, and rapid respiration. These things can—and often do—affect the results of critical medical tests and examinations.

The Fear Free approach not only makes appointments easier on our patients, it also makes examinations safer for the clinic staff. That can ultimately have a huge impact on your four-legged friend’s health and well-being. 

Perhaps the question is why wouldn’t you go with a Fear Free certified veterinary hospital?

How Is Fear Free Beneficial To My Pet?

Nobody likes going to the hospital. That’s true for our animal friends as much as it is for us. However, it plays out differently with animals than it does with people. Halloween with puppies can be especially tricky, as all the costumes and commotion can add to their stress levels. That’s why the Fear Free approach is so important.

Our four-legged friends process information differently than we do. They pick up a lot of information about the world through their cute noses. Fido’s sense of smell is roughly 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than ours. Cats’ noses are about 14 times more sensitive than ours. 

To your furry friend, veterinary clinics present an overwhelming mix of unfamiliar and unsettling smells. The scents of medical equipment, cleaning supplies, and strange people and animals can be scary in and of themselves. Then there are the scents and pheromones of other nervous dog and cats, some of whom may be hurt or sick. With cats, you can also add the car ride into the list of ‘pet peeves.’ Many kitties are more traumatized by the trip over to the office than by the appointment itself! And, if your four-legged friend has ever had to visit the clinic due to illness or injury, they may also have a negative association or memory frightening them even more.

Kindness can make all the difference here … not just in scoring purrs and tail wags, but also by allowing us to provide the best service possible.

Taking time to reduce pets’ stress and anxiety can have a huge impact on their veterinary care. It may also reduce the need for calming medication, and can make a massive difference when it comes to examining and even handling pets. This in turn translates to happier and safer staff, better diagnosis, and, ultimately, better care for Fido and Fluffy.

Think of it as an upward spiral. Or perhaps, a pupward spiral.

By choosing us, your Fear Free Certified Practice in Carmel Valley, CA, you’re choosing a vet who cares about your furry buddy’s emotional well-being as much as their physical health. 

What Are Some Techniques Used In Fear Free Handling? 

The organization’s official motto perhaps says it best, with their slogan: Taking the Pet Out Of Petrified

Actually, it’s more about taking the Petrified out of the pet.

The kinder, gentler approach not only makes Fluffy and Fido’s appointments easier on them, it can also facilitate better and more thorough exams, ultimately leading to more precise medical evaluations and diagnosis. 

What does that entail? Ear scritches are part of it, but there’s much more to it.

Some techniques include:

  • Gentler handling techniques
  • Distractions (We may keep Fido occupied with a puzzle treat while we’re looking at that lump on his leg.)
  • Calming Pheromones
  • Fewer Restraints
  • Separate Waiting Areas

These may seem like small steps, but they can make a huge difference. 

Being a Fear Free Certified Practice in Rancho Santa Fe, CA means a lot to us and our team, and we hope that you’ll see the difference.

Take A Pawsitive Step

Are you looking for a great veterinary hospital? Please contact Santaluz Animal Care, your Fear Free Certified Practice in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. Our comprehensive veterinary services are designed to provide the best care for your furry friends, with a focus on reducing stress and anxiety during their visits. We’re committed to providing the best service around!

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