By - emartinezvd
Most fear free clinics do this for free!
Yeah my vet does this for free and I appreciate them so much for it!
Mine too. You still have to make an appointment but they are happy to do these types of visits.
How do I find a fear free clinic? I used to have a fear free vet but he left the clinic (for a number of reasons) and I don't know where to look.
Nothing close to me, but I check every other month or so. Maybe one day.
You can also contact any local R+ and ask their recommendations for vets who are good with reactive dogs. That’s how we found our amazing vet!
Search for individual vets nearby! Today I was trying to find a fear free vet near me and none came up, but when I used their option to search for individuals a vet 2 miles away popped up. I called and asked and everyone there is certified, but getting the certificate for the practice would cost extra so they didn’t do it.
Thanks for sharing! I have 7 pages within 50 miles of me 🙃
Well this is interesting because I just searched my area and the first result was our actual vet yet he has never offered this to us lol
How do you find a fear free clinic? Asking cause one of my dogs is very anxious and have now been traumatized by my current vet who decided that the answer to a fearful squirrelly dog was to get three people to hold him down while forcing him through it all...
We offer this for free at my hospital & not a single client ever takes us up on the offer. We recommend it to every single nervous/reactive/apprehensive dog. “Swing by anytime, call ahead 10 minutes, staff will be there with cookies & a stethoscope & lots of love so we’re not so scary, we will always make time for a Happy Visit”. We’ve tried scheduling them, thinking that having a set appointment time would encourage people to show up. They just NCNS.
Not a single one ever takes us up on it, even if they think it’s a great idea in the room when we bring it up. Especially the dogs who come in frequently for needed care/injections/whatever, we really encourage it because it sucks when pets who need frequent visits get so stressed every time. But they never show, no matter how we emphasize the benefits of bringing them in for no reason at all other than building up their comfort & getting love so future visits don’t suck for pet & owner so much.
Boggles my mind.
That’s so tragic! I have a seven mo old puppy who had a bad vet experience and is now terrified out of his mind at the vet and I’m planning to start taking him once a week to chill in the lobby and get treats! My vet doesn’t supply treats or do happy visits so I had to make all kind of special arrangements and will be bringing my treats from home just to go into the lobby and hopefully weigh him. I would do anything for a service like your offering!
Yep we offer this for free and the same - no one ever does this! We have had maybe ONE client do this and her dog improved immensely but that’s it. One client out of literal hundreds.
I was complaining to my vets that fear free really starts at home and with the owners but owners hardly ever do what we recommend - can you tell me the number of cat owners who actually do the bare minimum of setting out the carrier in a visible space for a week or so instead of just hauling it out for vet visits and wondering why the cat is so stressed and fractious? Yeah. It can be so frustrating cuz there’s only so much you can do on a vet end and it breaks my heart a lot of people won’t do the bare minimum just to even try to make their animals comfortable.
Yes!!! I wish so desperately more people would take us up on the offer. The ones who have, we’ve seen so much success with.
Yep. Anytime we've offered it I've never had it actually taken up. No appointment, give people the quiet times, tell them we'll be happy to shower with treats and affection if appropriate, nothing bad happens.
Not one has taken us up on this.
As someone with a vet reactive dog, sometimes we just want to get the one or two visits a year over with and not have to deal with it again. This wouldn’t help my dog anyway as he loves the people and being there, it’s the actual act of getting the injections / any tools put on him that he doesn’t like and no matter how much CC&D we do with this type of stuff he never makes progress.
This has never been offered at any of the three vet clinics we've tried!! Man, I would so take them up on this offer if it was available.
My local vet offers this and it is pretty popular. Pop in, update pet weight, cuddles, treats, pats from anyone in the vicinity.
I regularly walk my pandemic puppy to the vet’s parking lot, and if they don’t look busy I call to ask if I can come in and weigh him.
Same, our fear-free vet will let us pop by (calling to give them 10-15min heads up) for our girl to get a cookie. She is so scared at the vet but she does like the biscuits they have! This is no cost.
I also bet they would let us book comfort appointments if we asked. A normal visit with a tech for vaccines/nails is $25 so I can’t imagine a comfort visit being more than $10-15 since it’s shorter and non-medical. And we are in a VERY high cost of living area 🥲
Our (now retired, sadly) home visit vet would apparently do this, when she had clients in the same area as the fearful dog she would book 10 minutes to drop in, pet dog, give treats, leave.
How did you ask the clinic about this? I mentioned fear free at one and they were clueless. Did you have to call more than one clinic?
If you call your vet and ask to schedule a “happy visit” most will oblige :) I’ve done this will all my dogs to help them avoid “white coat syndrome” and it helps IMMENSELY!
Our vet (Pre covid) told us we could drop by the lobby any time for a happy visit and actively encouraged it with our puppy
I love it !
How much would you pay for that?
I cant believe the people replying who said their vets do it for free!
My vet does it for a price... but, it's either 30-60 minutes long. Tbh, I'm not sure how long the 30 minute one is, but I've only been charged about $15 for our hour long happy visits. We've been doing them regularly since july of last year. Recently, the tech said they're going to increase their prices to a dollar per minute ($60 for me)... which is a bit of a strain in my weekly fund but I'll still be there when they finally up the price... also, it's to kinda help weed out the ones who arent doing their "homework"... so like even at home, I'll go through the process of setting up his place (if he gets off the mat, he doesn't wanna be touched. When he gets on, I praise and resume the activity). I'll pinch and squeeze him as if giving him a shot. I even bought a cheap stethoscope to get him used to seeing it, and having it pressed against his body, a part of it laying over his back, etc. That way, when he's with the tech, he's been doing this every day with me, he just doesn't really care.
He loves his vet tech, watchful with the vet but after a few minutes, he's loving on the vet too. We've managed to do full on wellness visits, vaccines and blood draws during our happy visits.
Vet exams are usually about 50$ for an hour appointment. This would probably take up about 10-15 minutes and not require the doctors presence so I’d say 5-7$ for a visit is a fair price
I don't think you understand how busy vet clinics are and how much overhead costs.
Although if you bumped it up to $20-30 some people might still do it. I’ve paid for enough pointless visits because my dog is too freaked out for an actual exam that something like this could have worked out cheaper.
Or extend the time on a regular visit for a little extra.
That price point would help a bit, but honestly most places just do not have the time. Most vet clinics right now are packing appointments in to the gills - often working through breaks and lunches. They simply don't have the space.
That being said, the clinic where I work, which is specialty rather than general practice admittedly, has absolutely done visits like this for some of our clients, at no charge.
It wouldn't even need to be an exam room with a doctor just let them come in give some cookies and head out. Plenty of clinics do it so it's clearly not impossible
Context is part of the cue, so practicing inside an exam room would be most beneficial.
And as I said, my own clinic does it at times with no charge. :)
My vet is the one used by the shelter. If a dog gets hit and they call the shelter, they call him.
He wants dogs that are easy to handle.
No free visits, but cheap ones.
The lobby is free though. I took my dog with me to buy flea meds and take a pocket full of treats. I asked people with out pets with them to greet him and toss a treat to him. The receptionist was happy to as well.
Idk my vet is really busy but they do this for free. They're a fear-free vet and they pride themselves on it.
Yaaa. In my area I wouldn’t do it for less than $35. Which is what a follow up appointment, that is a 15 minute appointment, cost. Full 30 minute appointment is $70. Especially with the staff shortage.
35 would be completely reasonable to me once a month if I had a young puppy and wanted to ensure success
Not worth it for the vet then. There's alot of other costs associated with even getting you in the door and scheduled. Then they only make $7.
Yes! My vet is a canine-only office, and they specifically request this for every new client. When possible, they’d like the dog to visit first, meet everyone, get treats, and enjoy the place stress-free. My dog has always loved going there for this very reason.
I have always encouraged owners to bring patients into the office Just For Treats & Pets regularly, free of charge, to keep the pet from experiencing anxiety & fear when it’s time for their checkup.
It will make all the difference in the world in case they ever need to stay in the hospital one day!
My vets often do this. But not during covid
My vet does something similar to what your suggesting. We haven’t used it for our dog, but it worked wonders for our kitten who HATED going to the vet so much he had to get on anxiety meds before visits
While I 100% agree, just calling and asking I'm sure would provide some kind of results!
Just did it yesterday! The office was closed by the time I was able to get there, but (Banfield, attached to PetSmart) we were able to walk around the vet without any bustle, let my boy sniff. I'll be doing it again today, and then on Saturday I'm going to go during open hours and let him see.
Our vet did it for free. We had a perfectly fine first experience. However our dog still hates going there, I think mainly because of the other pets and the smells there. Which makes sense I think. I don't really enjoy going to the doctor or hospital myself either.
Our vet highly encourages owners to come in with their dogs at any time during their office hours! The front office staff are always friendly with lots of treats, and our girl gets to practice sitting on the scale and going into an empty exam room to sniff and do some tricks to help desensitize her. We don’t even have to call ahead, they just want us to come in frequently so she associates the vet as a place where good things happen (even if it smells weird and sometimes “bad” things happen). It’s also helped immensely with building her confidence in new places!
My vets office is the same way! We drop in monthly for his flea and tick preventative, pop him on the scale, and then he gets his Flea and tick preventative there before we leave. You don't have to call ahead to pop in.
Hes literally so excited at the vets its unreal. And even when he gets his actual exams he's just happy that he's getting attention 😂.
I love it. My cat isn't AS big of a fan but puts up with it all without getting mean as long as he gets the good treats and can go pout in his carrier afterwards 🤷♀️
If you talk to your vet you can probably get "happy visits" which aren't at cost. (Although I did bring the office cookies.) Where they can walk them around the back and then slowly work them up.
My vet used to do this prior to covid. It's possible that your vet will allow you to bring your dog into the lobby, feed treats, and leave after a few minutes. This is something I've done with Smari and still can do now.
The issue is that I can no longer use an exam room for 5-10 minutes and leave, because they try to make sure to clean the rooms after anyone has been in them due to covid. Smari's vet phobia really kicks up a notch in the exam rooms. I'm hoping we can do "happy visits" where we can just go in an exam room for a few minutes again soon. Some vets do allow you to do this still, but my vet is choosing to be extra safe and I'm okay with that. Obviously I'd prefer to be able to work on Smari's fear more, but they are so accommodating to his needs anyway, even if the appointments are done with some sedatives on board and take extra time.
A lot of vet practices do this and call it “happy visits.” It’s usually charged as a tech appointment, not a vet visit.
I love the idea. Doctors should offer the same for fearful people. I'm not convinced that would ever happen since time is money and money is highest priority.
Weirdly, my dentist does this.
It's free as well as long as he has time. You just go in, hang out and listen to some music with him.
I love this. Whenever an appointment is coming up we practice just driving to and from the vet to keep her calm.
They do that here in Scotland, at least at my local vet. No charge. It's in their interests to have a confident dog.
Several vets here (both fear-free and not) offer "happy visits". About $20 for 15-30 minutes of hanging out in the facility doing nothing scary. My dog doesn't do strangers or handling, so we've done a ton of them where the vet tech stands around while I play with him. Sometimes they play with him, depending on how he's doing. Eventually we hope to let them practice handling, but for now, just getting lots of experience in a really low-stress environment.
Pre-COVID my vet would encourage owners with new pets to stop in regularly just to say hi and get on the scale. The dog would get pets and treats and learn to associate the vet's office with happy things instead of being poked and prodded. Now that COVID restrictions are mostly lifted they are encouraging it again.
I didn’t realize this wasn’t a thing. This is a standard offer for fearful dogs at my vet.
Maybe ask to get nails clipped? Small fee and gets the dog in. Nails don’t necessarily need to be clipped.
Oh yes! I didn't even think about that. Nail clips at my vet are only 12 dollars. That's a great idea.
And cats please!!
I thought about this the other day, when I had to text my vet a question. I was thinking if we could just pop in, say hello, get some treats and roll out, it would be a great experience.
The clinic I work at does “happy visits” and encourages you to come in with your dog and get on the scale, walk around, and get treats!
Both of my vets offer happy pet visits for no charge. We just go in, check the room, get some peanut butter and pets, and leave.
Our vet does not advertise themselves as fear free but they are always happy to let us stop in for a quick minute to get a treat and just say hi. It doesn't cost anything and we never actually go past the front reception area but it's been really helpful for my pups
My vet does this for new patients! The first visit is free and is just a “happy visit” where they meet the dog, give pets and treats, and show them items like stethoscopes, syringes, etc and let them sniff and investigate them without anything painful or scary happening. My dog loves the vet to this day even though plenty of “scary” things have happened there since.
I've scheduled multiple in-person med checks with our vet to discuss how Sheba was doing. I gladly paid full price for this to have a relaxed chat with the vet in person, get Sheba into the vet, get her weighed (give treats), into the room (give treats), vet comes in (vet gives treats), we chat and she sits quietly (gives more treats), we check out (gets treats), go to the car (you guessed it, more treats).
They are totally worth the money, but yeah, my vet would do this over the phone for free, and yeah, I would love it if it wasn't full price :)
My vets encourage these sort of visits, Sunday mornings are the quietest.
Fear free clinics do!
my vet does this
My vet actually encouraged me to bring my dog in on our walks (we live within walking distance) we bring our dog in she gets lots of treats she stands on the scale and we go on our way. We try and do this once a week
I have this set up with my vet, she's not a "fear free clinic" or whatever, I'm just willing to walk my pup over.
The key there is that it's close enough to be on a regular walk route, and I'm fine just bringing him in to chat with the receptionist if my vet is out or busy at the time.
I would love this. We haven't got a set vet for my pets after we moved however he enjoyed trips for his needles and desexing.
The new vet we saw took one look at my dog and insisted on muzzling him and because of Covid I couldn't go in with him. He doesn't like going to this vet.
My vet does this. They call them "happy visits". You can either schedule an actual "exam" that's just taking the dog to the back to be showered with treats (it's not free bc the staff gives their attention solely to you and the dog)
You can just walk into the clinic and not go into the back and give them treats yourself and whoever is up front and/or free at the moment can pop out and say hi.
That said, I'm sure that whatever vet you have would be willing to charge you the minimum office fee (for basically having their staff section out a block of time just for you) to walk around the areas where the dog would normally go and do some basic exam type stuff to work on positive reinforcement. Actually, if any vet refused I'd question their integrity.
Edit: the minimum office fee at my vet is around 30 bucks, like just to be seen with no diagnostics. Very affordable for what is basically a 30 minute training session. But in these instances it's the actual vet that comes in with you - the person that would normally be the main one doing the scary stuff like aspirating a growth or giving an ultrasound/x ray.
I make a nail appointment with my vet for two dogs. One dog got it's nails done, the other dog got nails on one foot done. Also a weigh in.
After a year my reactive dog got all of his nails done and an eye injury examination. Nail appointments were $10 per dog.
This is such a great idea. I'm amazed at how many people say their vet encourages this or has this. I've never even heard of it.
This is called a happy visit. And some vets do it already.
My vet and techs are so great. When I got my 1st pup she was fearful of everything. The vet said we could pop by anytime. So sometimes we stopped in when out for our walk, the vet techs would shower her with attention and treats. She loves going to the vet. Also we took her to a puppy socialization class that helped a lot too. She is a calm confident dog now.
My vet does boarding, so I think boarding our girl at the vet gave her a positive association with the vet. They play with the animals and love on them at the kennels, so now she associates vet with fun yard time, scritches, plenty of treats, etc. She likes it so much we started getting her groomed there too!
Maybe find a vet that does more “fun” stuff like boarding or daycare. That could help your pup equate “vet” with “nice humans who won’t hurt me.”
In addition to checking the Fear Free directory, also look for Fear Free certified trainers who can work with you at your regular vet