Fear Free Certified

Spring Branch Veterinary Hospital is proud to have Fear Free certified professionals on our team. We are dedicated to caring for your pet’s emotional well-being as well as his or her physical well-being.



What is Fear Free?

The Fear Free program was developed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists and founded by Dr. Marty Becker. It is a training program to help veterinarians and veterinary staff modify their procedures, handling, and facilities, to help pets feel safe and comfortable, while still receiving the excellent medical care they need. Spring Branch Veterinary Hospital is happy to be part of this new initiative sweeping across progressive veterinary hospitals. Our goal is to ease the stress, fear, and anxiety that so many pets experience while at the veterinary office. Fear Free takes the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified’ by utilizing a considerate approach and gentle control techniques along with a calm environment. We remove anxiety triggers which creates an experience that is rewarding and safer for all involved, including pets, pet parents, and the veterinary team.

What is Involved in a Fear Free Visit?

At Spring Branch Veterinary Hospital we work hard to maintain a calm and quiet environment to minimize stress for pets. Special dog and cat calming pheromones called Feliway and Adaptil, are infused throughout the hospital. Pheromones are safe, natural, and only dogs and cats can smell them. They have a relaxing effect to alleviate anxiety. We also have pheromone infused towels to use when needed. We never use force to examine, test, or treat your pet. We use gentle control techniques for safe restraint. If a pet has extreme stress or fear associated with a visit or medical procedure we utilize pre-visit calming medications and/or in-hospital sedation when appropriate. Unless it’s medically contraindicated, we give pets lots of treats during the visit. This is so that your pet starts associating going to the vet with good things! Distraction tools, like having your pet lick cheese spread off of the table, can greatly minimize the stress of procedures such as injections. Some pets prefer to be examined up on a table, on the floor, in a carrier, or in a lap. We utilize non-slip yoga mats for table examinations to help with grip. We do everything we can to make your pet comfortable during a visit or a stay in the hospital.

What Can You Do To Help the Fear Free Process?

Is your pet showing signs of stress, fear, or anxiety when arriving at our office? Please talk with us about the best strategy for your pet. If we have a current veterinary patient relationship with your pet ask us about a pre-visit anxiety medication or supplement that could help your pet. Would your pet be happier waiting in the car until an exam room is ready? Call us from the parking lot before your visit and we can come get you when the room is ready. We recommend bringing your pet hungry to the visit so that they are more food and treat motivated during the visit. If your pet has a special toy, blanket, or treat that they love, we recommend bringing it with you to the visit. Cats often experience stress in a carrier that they are not accustomed to spending time in. We recommend leaving your cat’s carrier out all the time in a location where your cat spends a lot of time. This helps reduce stress by acclimating them to the carrier. Place a clean comfortable soft towel or bed inside the carrier. Using a Feliway wipe or spray in the carrier can add some added relaxation for your cat’s experience. If your pet has anxiety during car rides we recommend playing soft classical music. If your pet has extreme fear, anxiety, or stress, we will talk with you about both pre-visit sedation as well as in hospital sedation to ease the stress. We can also discuss a referral to a good pet trainer to help with socializing. Socializing your pet properly helps your tem learn how to adapt to new events and situations.


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