Last updated: 20 Oct, 2023
Published on: 26 Jul, 2023
Finding a fear-free vet
Are you preparing to welcome a new furry family member? Or maybe you just feel it’s time to look into finding a new vet for your pet?
While you might have a long list of more fun things to do for your pet, like picking out the perfect colour collar or posting on their Insta, it’s worth taking some time to research a great vet to take them to. Even if your furry pal has a clean bill of health, you’ll need to know where to take them for their regular checks and annual vaccinations and know where to go in case of an emergency.
While it’s easy to hop onto Google and choose the vet clinic that’s closest to you, it’s worth considering the following points to make sure your pet is as happy and comfortable as possible while receiving the care they need (especially if the vet isn’t at the top of their favourite places to visit!)
Do the vets have behaviour qualifications or knowledge?
While vets are incredible at helping our furry friends, many pet owners might be surprised to learn that veterinary degrees do not include behaviour qualifications. This might not be an issue if your pet is chilled about going to the vet, but if you have an anxious pet or a pet with behaviour-related health issues, finding a vet with this knowledge can make a world of difference and can mean that your pet receives a more holistic approach to their care.
Are they Fear-Free certified?
Fear-Free highlights the importance of emotional well-being and enrichment in pets, and the reduction of fear and stress, improving the experience of both pets and humans at the vet! Free-free professionals will pay close attention to the pet’s behaviour and body language, and the environment will be set up to make it as stress-free as possible (more on this shortly!) A clinic (or individual) can obtain a fear-free certification, however, many clinics do uphold and support the Fear-Free ethos, without holding an official certification. You should be able to find out more on the clinic’s website or by chatting to their staff on the phone.
Tip: Ask the reception staff whether their clinic offers ‘happy visits’. These are usually free and simply involve you quickly bringing your pet in to familiarise them and make them comfortable (while you and the staff feed them plenty of delicious snackos!)
How is the clinic set up?
There could be separate waiting spaces - eg, reception areas for dogs and cats, quieter areas for anxious pets to wait without other pets nearby, or the option to wait in your car. There will usually be plenty of treats on tap to help give your pet a positive association with the clinic, and possibly pheromone sprays to help them relax. There could even be an awesome outdoor enrichment garden set up for pooches to enjoy a relaxing sniff-ari!
Tip: If you find an awesome new vet clinic that’s only open during normal office hours, make sure you know where the nearest emergency vet clinic is as well, just in case.
Will your furry pal see the same vet each time?
Many larger, busy vet clinics have a lot of veterinary staff on different rosters, which means that you and your pet won’t necessarily see the same vet each time. It’s important to chat with the reception staff about whether you can make sure you’ll see the same vet, so your pet can build trust and a relationship with them over time, and the vet will be familiar with your pet’s unique personality and any quirks they have.
Choosing the right vet for your new furry friend is an im-paw-tant decision that can significantly impact their well-being and overall experience of receiving care. While convenience is important, taking the time to research and consider the points above can lead to a happier and more comfortable experience for your pet (and you!)
Search for a fear-free vet clinic or vet professional here.
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Banner image credit: Gustavo Fring via Pexels