You Heard It Right, We Are ALL Fear Free Certified!

FreeFreeProf_4cYou might have missed it on TV last week but TV6 stopped by our clinic to find out more about the Fear Free Program. As of December, every one of us at Northern Vet has now been certified. We are the first veterinary clinic in the UP to to have 100% of our staff certified as Fear Free Professionals! We are very excited for 2018 and the small, but important, changes that will be happening throughout the year.

Here is the TV 6 segment:

What is Fear Free all about? Take a minute to watch this video from Fear Free.

Our Fear Free training helps us to work with you and your pet, to make their visits more enjoyable. The more relaxed your pet is, the smoother and more complete their examination will be. That will build into future visits that will be less and less stressful for them. 

We will be looking at some new Fear Free techniques, but many of the techniques that you will notice are simply an improved version of what we have been using for a long time in our clinic.

Here are a few of the changes we already have in place, and some that we will be adding in the near future:

Aromatherapy– We started using two diffusers, one in our lobby and one in our kennel room, last fall. We use either lavender or chamomile essential oils in them. Both of these can have calming affects on animals and humans.

Pheromones– Pheromones are “airborne hormones”. They are given off by animals so they can communicate. The types we use are actually synthetic versions of the calming pheromones dogs and cats give off. We have always used and recommended pheromones but not as extensively as we do now. We spray each exam room and kennel daily. We also spray warm towels to use directly with the pets that are showing signs of anxiety.

Calming Supplements– Holistic Supplements allow for a non-medicine option to help calm our pets. We have always carried Composure Pro. More recently we added Solliquin, and the next product we will offer is Zylkene. All three of these are great products for us to have on hand.  Some pets just need that extra little something to take the edge off and one of these options could be just the ticket! Each individual patient will do better on one versus the other,  that’s why we will urge you to try another if the first one doesn’t work.

Calming Music – We are instituting .mp3 music pods that will play soothing music for all of our patients. There has been extensive research that proved certain styles of music have positive effects on the mood of cats and dogs.

Treat Ladder Zuke’s Training Treats have always been what we offer to dogs that come in. They are wonderful! There are different flavors, and they have soft and crunchy versions. However, just like not everyone wants chocolate cake for desert, not every dog wants Zuke’s as a treat. That has led us to create a “Treat Ladder”, which is a variety of treats that range from simple to more palatable. We start with the simple treats, and work our way up to the top of the ladder until we find one that works for your pet. Note, however, that some of our treats are not meant to be used routinely. They are highly palatable treats that are only meant to be used during our Fear Free visits, and any sessions with a trainer.

Good news for CATS: Even though cats can be resistant to any treats we offer, we have also built a Treat Ladder that will make even the most finicky cat consider a taste!

In-house Trainers– One of the best assets that we have had since we opened many years ago is the presence of an in-house dog trainer. We have always helped with obedience and behavioral modification. We are now going to expand our training mission in order to start helping owners prepare their pets at home for their visits to our clinic. It can be an intimidating experience if the only time your pet is being gently restrained while having their teeth checked or ears looked at is at their yearly checkup. Teaching pet owners how to practice at home and create a positive association with this process will have a beneficial effect on many pets.

We are changing with the times!: You will be noticing many structural changes to our facility. The change most of our clients will notice will be the colors of our walls. Experts have found with research that colors and color contrasts have a direct effect on how an animal feels about their environment. We will be using colors that have been shown to have a calming effect on our pet cats and dogs. We are also just finishing a soundproofing project in our kennel area. Although our goal is to have every dog feel comfortable enough during their stay at our clinic, barking is inevitable. By soundproofing our kennel, it will minimize the effect that the occasional bark will have on our other patients.


So, there are some of the changes you and your pets can look forward to the next time you visit us. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on even more improvements as they happen. If you want to learn even more about the Fear Free initiative, go to: