Established in 2016, the Fear Free movement is becoming more sought after by both pet owners and members of the veterinary field. This is largely due to an increased recognition of the importance of the emotional wellness of our pets. Becoming a Certified Fear Free Practice requires a team approach to safeguard the emotional well-being of our patients, their owners, and our staff. Harbor Point Animal Hospital is one of three hospitals in the state of North Carolina to achieve this certification.

In order to become a Certified Practice, we had to successfully implement Fear Free into all aspects of our business to meet Fear Free Practice Certification Standards. Mandatory standards are pass/fail; optional standards are weighted, and the practice must achieve a minimum score to pass each category.

Standards that must be met range from hospital design to handling, to medical practices and protocols. For example, having a separate cat exam room that dogs never enter, helps eliminate odors from other animals that may increase fear and stress in a cat.

Calming pheromones and soothing music are utilized in our boarding and recovery areas. By implementing minimal restraint techniques and LOTS of tasty treats, we are able to distract our patients from unpleasant procedures to help minimize their discomfort.

If necessary, we promote the use of pre-visit medication to help pets relax or to prevent nausea from car rides. We tailor our medical care to the specific needs of each pet; and as we get to know each animal over time, our ability to handle and care for them only gets better. Out goal is to limit negative experiences to prevent animals from associating these feelings with veterinary visits.

Once we successfully completed an online self-assessment of the required standards, an onsite visit was required with a Fear Free Practice Certification Veterinarian. Every aspect of veterinary care is considered from the time an appointment is scheduled through follow up with the client.

All of this is done with the goal of reducing the fear, anxiety, and stress that pets and their owners often feel prior to veterinary visits. Our hope is that as pets become less fearful of veterinary care, we will see an increase in the number of animals receiving preventative and wellness care- helping pets live a longer, healthier, happier life. At Harbor Point Animal Hospital, we truly are changing the way pets see the vet!

Call us today at (704) 230-0858 to schedule your Fear Free visit!