Fear Free Certification

Fear Free is a series of training protocols for veterinary professionals, trainers, and pet owners on the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. Every member of our team at The Landing Veterinary Hospital is proud to be Fear Free certified.

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Our Team is Fear Free Certified

Every member of our team at The Landing Veterinary Hospital is proud to be Fear Free certified. We use the techniques gained from our certifications to help reduce the stress, anxiety and fear that is often associated with veterinary appointments. 

Our hospital is also working towards Practice Certification, which requires a practice to meet 27 different mandatory standards as well as earn 1070 points out of a possible 2060 towards another 28 standards.

Fear Free Certified, Gibsons Vet

Fear Free Resources

The Landing Veterinary Hospital in Gibsons The Landing Veterinary Hospital in Gibsons

Our Fear Free Certification

The Landing Veterinary Hospital is dedicated to reducing stress, fear and anxiety in all of our patients all while offering the best possible veterinary medical care.

You may notice the changes we have implemented in order to earn each of our staff a Fear Free Certification. Small changes include offering treats, robust and sterilized chew toys, hiding spaces and mats, letting dogs remain in their owner's laps and cats in their crates as well as changes in handling techniques and pre-visit medications.

Larger changes have also been made, such as the design of the practice to include separate cat and dog areas. All of these changes, both big and small, have made a huge difference in our delivery of patient care.

Our staff has worked very hard on not only becoming Fear Free certified as well as implementing and practicing low stress and Fear Free techniques when working with our patients.

How We Implement Fear Free

At our veterinary clinic in Gibsons, the Fear Free approach extends throughout our whole office and is prioritized only after the medical care of our patients.

We work with our patients and their people to undertake the following steps before and during each appointment.

  • Good Communication Between Pets & People

    We start by understanding and identifying how pets communicate signs of stress to us.

    These signs include a number of signals that can be obvious or subtle, from dilated pupils to a tense expression, hissing, growling, or a tucked tail.

    We will also speak with you about your pet's known stressors which can include sounds, discomfort, scents unfamiliar people, or disease processes.

    Getting to know our canine and feline clients, and understanding what stresses them out, and how they communicate that stress, helps us better manage it during their visits.

    We ask the family to speak up if there is something that causes fear, stress or anxiety (FAS) let us know. We can help!

  • Planning Ahead

    The beginnings of an anxiety-free veterinary appointment begin in your home. You will have to let us know if your pet gets stressed when attending veterinary checkups. Once we know that, we can offer some suggestions for at-home strategies you can try before your visit. There may be options to send supplements or medication home before the visit to help with car sickness or to help decrease the level of stress at the vet. 

    Let us know if your pet gets stressed coming into the lobby or with new people or animals. We can have you wait outside or in your car and then come directly into one of our examination rooms. We have several entrances to help with this.

    Let us know if your pet does better with male or female vets.

    Cats and small- to medium-sized dogs should be acclimated to their carriers. This can be accomplished by leaving the carrier out in an area of the home where the pet likes to be. ​ Place a towel over the top of the carrier to help create a safe place with familiar scents.

    Your pet's carrier should be set up with toys, comfortable and soft bedding and should have an option to take off the top to improve accessibility.

    You can also spray cat or dog pheromones, either in the carrier or onto a bandana for larger dogs.

    If transporting a medium to large dog, be sure to use an approved restraint device in the car. Driving to the vet can be kept low stress by avoiding hard stops or starts and with calm music or silence.

    Bring their favourite treats or toys to the visit.

  • A Calm, Quiet Environment

    At our veterinary office, we do our best to keep the atmosphere calm and quiet.

    To help with reducing your pet's stress, keep cats and dogs as separate as possible while in our waiting area. Cat carriers should be kept off the floor on a chair or table. And make sure to keep your dog leashed and as close to your side as possible in order to minimize interaction with other pets who are also waiting.

    During the appointment, our veterinary team will remain calm, speak in quiet voices and approach the pet in a slow, careful manner, as dogs and cats are often sensitive to loud noises and quick movements.

  • Treats & Toys

    To encourage a positive experience and decrease fear, stress, and anxiety during the visit, rewards such as treats, toys, or petting/brushing can be used during an exam or when obtaining diagnostics as long as it is not contraindicated based on why the pet is at the hospital.

    We have treats throughout the hospital. If your cat or dog is on a special diet, we encourage you to bring their treats or food with you to the visit.

  • Sedation & Restraint Options

    Our veterinary team is trained in low-stress handling techniques and a considerate approach. We use petting, treats and toys to distract your nervous pet. Families are allowed to be with their pet companions during procedures (excluding sedation, anesthesia, x-rays, and while the hospital is closed). The staff will direct families on how they can play a part in their pet's treatment resulting in lower stress for your pet and keeping staff and family safe during the procedure.

    In some cases, we will reschedule a procedure if the pet is stressed. This allows us to send home medications before performing the procedures.

    If restraint is required during a procedure, our trained staff may use a towel wrap, a muzzle, or an Elizabethan collar to ensure the patient is safe and comfortable during the process. A mild sedative may be recommended to make sure that the procedure can be performed safely and less stressful for the patient.

    If you already know that your pet experiences anxiety or stress when visiting the vet, it may be beneficial for the veterinarian to provide you with a mild sedative to give to your pet at home prior to an appointment

  • Fear Free Overnight Stays

    Our veterinary team has guidelines in place to minimize stress during overnight stays.

    We work to minimize smells and loud noises, and we place calming pheromone diffusers around the hospital.

    We also sometimes use soft music or white noise machines to interfere with any sudden noises. Lights are kept low, and pets are given soft bedding and places to hide to make them more comfortable.

    If we need to move your pet around in the hospital, for an exam, a procedure, or a walk outside, it is done slowly and calmly, avoiding interactions with other patients. Mild sedatives or anti-anxiety medications may be used in the hospital to reduce stress during the stay.

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