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A “Fear Free” Approach to Veterinary Medicine

Some of the most memorable trips to the vet are the ones where the provider took those extra steps to make our pets feel comfortable and at ease. One vet, Dr. Marty Becker, recognized that with the right skills, knowledge and education, veterinary staff could cater the experience to each animal's anxiety level and needs. In 2016, Fear Free was founded and “has become one of the single most transformative initiatives in the history of companion animal practice, providing unparalleled education on emotional wellbeing, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets and improving the experience of every human and pet involved.”

So what exactly IS Fear Free? “Fear Free provides online education to veterinary professionals, pet professionals, animal welfare communities, and pet owners.” This valuable education is comprised of courses that are “developed and written by the most respected veterinary and pet experts in the world, including boarded veterinary behaviorists, boarded veterinary anesthesiologists, pain experts, boarded veterinary internists, veterinary technicians (behavior), experts in shelter medicine, animal training, grooming, boarding, and more.”

Fear Free isn’t just for professionals. In case you missed it, Fear Free provides resources and education for pet owners, too! Perhaps you have an upcoming trip and you’re bringing your pup along, or maybe you’re introducing a new cat to the household. The website is filled with helpful informational videos, tips, articles and blogs, which address many common topics that are bound to come up in a pet-friendly home. Of course, we always recommend having a conversation with your pet’s veterinarian to discuss any new changes or serious behavioral issues to rule out any underlying health concerns.

In addition to Fear Free founder, Dr. Marty Becker, there were other veterinarians who noticed a need for less stressful veterinary visits as well. During her 30 years of owning Okaw Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Sally J Foote DVM, CABC-IAABC, LSHC-S, was able to refine her skills while gaining a true appreciation for techniques which reduce animal’s pain and fear. She states “Client’s loved that I was willing to take off my white coat, examine a timid dog outside or a cat wrapped in the owner's barn coat. The client’s appreciated that I kept them in the room, to explain what the pet needed and instructed the owner what to do to help their pet while not interfering with my exam.” In 2018, Dr. Foote sold her veterinary practice and decided to pursue sharing her expertise and knowledge with fellow veterinary professionals and pet owners and thus, Foote & Friends was created. In addition to certified courses, Foote & Friends shares certifications, courses, and a library full of resources. You can learn more by visiting:

After learning about this approach which focuses on reducing stress and anxiety for pets, you may be wondering “where can I find a professional near me who offers this?” Fear Free created a directory which allows individuals to search by location! You can view this by clicking here.


New to our page? Compassion Animal Project is a nationwide, donor-funded, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial assistance for life-saving treatments for pets and helps keep families together. Be sure to follow along with us by clicking the links below!


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