Why Fear Free

Traditionally, going to the clinic has meant getting procedures done in the name of medical care on its own, with disregard to the animal’s emotional wellbeing. However, veterinary care is ever-evolving and improving. As we learn more about how our pets learn and experience the world around them, we continue evolving to a more considerate approach.

What does this mean?
We are evaluating your pet as an individual, and taking the time to assess their needs. We collaborate as a team to adjust our restraint techniques, which allows your pet to say “stop”. This means we are not wrestling them to get a procedure done, nor are we making them feel uncomfortable to the point where they feel like they must use their mouth to communicate this with us.

Why does this matter?
Every interaction your animal has with a person impacts their interactions with others. Animals do not understand that the procedures we do benefit their health. In their minds, humans restrained them, they attempted to escape, and then they felt pain. For them, restraint led to pain. They want to avoid pain, so they struggle. Who wouldn’t?!

When emotional wellbeing is not considered, your pet believes they have two options to avoid pain when visiting the clinic. Fight or flight. The way your animal responds depends upon their history, associations, and overall individual sensitivities. For example, at an animal’s first visit to a vet clinic, they were restrained and felt pain. At their next visit, they were restrained, struggled to remove themselves from the familiar situation, and felt pain again. By the third or fourth visit they associate the vet clinic with pain, and are prepared to tell people to stop before they even start by growling, lunging, and snapping. This is stressful for the staff, your animal, and you.

We are following these steps to be mindful of your pet’s well-being, and to avoid extreme stress and anxiety:
1. We observe your pet’s body language for fear, anxiety, and stress signals, so we can work proactively with adjusting handling and restraint.
2. We provide as many procedures as possible with the pet’s guardian present, while guiding them on how to participate in reducing stress and anxiety.
3. We utilize food rewards to move your pet into needed positions, and to keep them occupied while being handled.
4. We provide pre-visit pharmaceuticals to reduce stress and anxiety.
5. We work to provide positive associations with the clinic and staff through scheduled Happy Visits or Victory Visits. Email our certified behavior consultant at jennifer@mkevet.com to learn more.

Here at Milwaukee Vet Clinic, we are dedicated to creating a space that’s free of exam and procedure-related pet stress. We’re proud to be pioneers for the future of pet care. Thank you for joining us on this evolution in veterinary care!