Helping Pets Have a Fear-Free Experience

If your pet gets nervous during veterinary visits, he’s not alone. Thousands of pets experience some form of anxiety while at the vet, which causes some owners to skip visits entirely. As a result, pets don’t get the healthcare they need. The good news is that with the new Fear FreeSM initiative, more pets are able to enjoy more peaceful, stress-free veterinary visits. Northfield Veterinary Hospital is proud to be one of the few practices that’s staffed Fear FreeSM professionals so YOUR pet can have his wellness needs met in a comfortable environment.

What Exactly Is Fear Free?

Fear FreeSM is an initiative that was created by “America’s Veterinarian” Dr. Marty Becker to promote gentle handling techniques and calming environments in veterinary facilities for pets. This initiative involves a variety of factors that include the staff as well as the facility—all to help pets have more pleasant experiences at the vet. Veterinary professionals receive Fear FreeSM certification by completing an eight-module online certification program that addresses various topics related to pet behavior.


About Our Fear Free Techniques

As a practice that abides by Fear FreeSM principles, we take several measures to help our patients have a more enjoyable veterinary visit, free of stress. These measures are also evident in the physical aspects of our facility. They include:

  • Textured laminate all throughout the hospital so that pets can get better footing than with stainless steel
  • Soft, closed kennels to prevent clanging of stainless steel
  • Feliway® pheromone diffusers in cat rooms to reduce stress and anxiety in cats
  • A separate cat ward, away from sounds of barking dogs and other “hospital sounds”
  • Staff is trained in low-restraint techniques, including the use of positive reinforcement with treats and food, and the use of “swaddling” techniques
  • Separate exam room for owners who wish to stay with their pet during surgical procedures to help reduce stress
  • Use of basket muzzles (for pets that require muzzling), which allow pets to breathe, pant properly, and eat treats
  • Staff does not wear lab coats unless there’s a suspected case of infectious disease
  • Enclosed, cage-free rooms, which allow animals with cage anxiety to spend time out of a kennel and close to a window, if their condition allows
  • We will also do house visits in the area to assist those pets that do not travel well

If you’d like to learn more about the Fear FreeSM professionals at Northfield Veterinary Hospital or about our specialized techniques, please give us a call at 720-503-9559. You can also learn more at