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Fear Free



WE GET YOU! Like you, we love pets like family and want what is best for them.

It is no secret that many animals are not thrilled to go to the vet. That is why we became Fear Free Certified, to help pets (and their parents) to feel comfortable and confident in coming to the veterinarian. 

We strive to make all experiences with us as stress-free as possible for you and your four-legged family members. Fear Free Certification means we have committed to alleviating the anxiety, trauma, and stress dogs and cats can experience going to the veterinarian. 


What is Fear Free®?

Founded by “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker, and developed by hundreds of experts in behavior, medicine, and handling, Fear Free has become one of the single most transformative initiatives in the history of companion animal practice. 

Programs and courses provide veterinary professionals, pet professionals, animal welfare communities, and pet owners with the knowledge and tools to look after both a pet’s physical and emotional well-being. 

Placing your pet’s emotional wellbeing at the center of everything we do means there are no longer “standard procedures” for well, anything. There is only what works for your pet in that moment, makes them comfortable, and builds a foundation of trust for future visits.

Is there special training required? 

Yes. Our delivery of treatment and how we interact with you and your pet is directly driven and informed by our Fear Free training. Our veterinary team has thorough knowledge of methods and practices that minimize the uneasy feelings your pets may experience at home, during transport, and at the veterinary hospital. We care deeply about the mental well-being of all pets, and their quality of life, because they deserve it! 

What about the space?

In addition to our specialized training, our practice was deliberately designed with Fear Free in mind. We have reduced stress triggers in our reception and waiting areas, exam rooms, and in-hospital treatment areas.

My cat gets anxious around dogs (or dog gets excited around cats), are there any options for us? 

No need to worry! We have separate dog and cat waiting areas. We also provide pheromone sprayed (Feliway) towels for comfort. Many kinds of treats are provided to help encourage your pets at different times during their visit. If your pet has a favorite toy or treats, you should bring them with you, so they are as comfortable as possible! 

What about the procedures? 

We treat your pets like family and do not want them to associate our site, or us, with a bad and painful experience. We always shy away from force, especially during blood draws and vaccines. Instead, we use positive reinforcement and distractions including peanut butter and other tasty treats!  

These are just a few examples of how we do things differently at Companion Pet Hospital. We invite you to come experience our techniques for yourself! We can’t wait to meet you!  


A Happy Visit Is Life Changing

It is no secret that many animals are not thrilled to go to the vet. Some pets can be especially anxious, fearful, or nervous during vet visits as unfamiliar people, sounds, and smells can incite negative reactions. “Happy visits” promote positive emotional learning associated with location (parking lot, exam room, scale), instruments (stethoscope, needles), and team members.

Happy visits are designed to reduce stress and establish trust and positive experiences with patients. This special approach of care encourages positive association for pets and improves cooperation at veterinary visits. Performing basic routine care becomes less stressful for the patients, their owners, and the entire veterinary team.

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These special visits are conducted using counterconditioning by pairing a pleasure-inducing interaction such as eating treats, with an interaction that previously caused fear or anxiety. ​

If it is noted by a team member that your pet is fearful or nervous during a regular appointment, we will encourage you to contact us to schedule a time for one of these happy visits. Teaching your pet to be comfortable during a vet exam will be approached slowly and in a stepwise fashion. Our Fear Free Certified team will carefully monitor your pet for signs of fear, anxiety, and stress along the way, and will make recommendations based on what they observe. The number of recommended visits and length of each visit will vary based on each pet’s individual needs. By placing your pet’s emotional well-being at the center of every appointment, we can help them feel more comfortable and confident, building a foundation of trust for future vet visits!

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Don’t Take Our Word For It!
Here’s What Our Clients Are Saying

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Thank you to Jon and the entire staff at Companion Pet Hospital for caring for my dog, Birdie, as we worked on making the vet a safe and happy place for her to visit and receive care. The Fear Free Visits--or, as we call them, "Happy Visits!"--have really helped to transform the experience of going to the vet for Birdie. She used to shake from fear, growl at the vet and technicians, and be generally uncomfortable and scared when we would arrive in the parking lot either in the car or by foot. She now wags her tail in anticipation of seeing Jon, our vet tech, and receiving treats from all of the staff. She willingly leads the way into the vet, and while she's still getting accustomed to receiving treatment (whether that's her vaccines, check-ups, or other treatment), she is clearly happier and well-equipped to deal with the stress thanks to these Happy Visits. Thanks to Companion and Jon for all they do for our beloved Birdie girl!

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