Fear Free initiative sees enrollment of more than 14,000 in first year


Around 5,500 veterinary professionals and other animal care workers already certified, organization reports.

Photo courtesy of fearfreepets.comEnrollment of veterinary professionals and other animal care workers for Fear Free training and certification has surpassed 14,000 in its first year with around 5,500 having already achieved certification, according to a release from the initiative. Initial estimates put first-year enrollment at 1,000.

The initiative, designed to “take the ‘pet' out of ‘petrified,'” aims to reduce fear, anxiety and stress in pets receiving veterinary care. It was founded by Marty Becker, DVM, and developed by a 160-member advisory panel composed of veterinary behaviorists, veterinary technician behavior specialists, veterinary anesthetists, practice management experts, boarded practitioners experienced in Fear Free methods, hospital and animal shelter designers, medical icons and other experts, the release states.

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Dr. Becker states in the release that the program's success is owed to three main factors. “First,” he says, “Fear Free is the right thing to do; nobody gets involved with veterinary medicine to make life worse for animals. Second, Fear Free allows veterinary professionals to practice a higher quality of medicine while elevating care for their patients. Finally, pet owners are actively searching for individuals with certification to take care of their pets, so practitioners are flocking to certification because of market demand.” 

In addition to the core certification program, Fear Free also offers level two training and specialty continuing education courses such as the Foundation for Kittens and Puppies, the release states.

Enrollees represent more than 1,500 practices in 21 countries. Current projections show that 25,000 to 30,000 professionals will be enrolled in the eight-module program by the end of 2017, the release states.

“Fear Free has added an amazing fresh perspective in our professional interactions with our patients and clients,” says Thomas F. Meyer, DVM, president of the AVMA, in the release. “Our entire veterinary team has bonded to make sure each pets visit is a positive and enjoyable experience. Our clients see how we embrace the human-animal bond by our commitment to a Fear Free visit. This is a game changer and a must for every pet.” 

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