What Is Fear Free Certification?


You may have heard of Fear Free Certification and Fear Free techniques, especially related to veterinary practices. The Fear Free program is designed to educate veterinary professionals and pet professionals about fear, stress, and anxiety in pets and to teach people how to interact with pets in the least stressful ways possible. Fear Free techniques aim to create a comfortable, low-stress environment for pets while keeping animal professionals as safe as possible.

What Is Fear Free Certification?

Founded by Dr. Marty Becker, Fear Free is an organization and training program that has a mission “to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.”

Many animals experience high levels of stress at the veterinarian. The Fear Free concept helps pets feel more relaxed during veterinary visits, training sessions, and grooming sessions. In addition, it helps protects professionals who are handling the animals in these situations. There are five types of Fear Free programs available.

Veterinary Professionals

This program is for individuals who work in veterinary medicine, including veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, kennel assistants, customer service representatives, practice managers, and other staff. Trainees learn how to create a low-stress environment for pets visiting the vet. They are educated about body language in dogs, cats, and other animals so they can identify signs of stress in pets and react in a way that promotes relaxation. The course covers low-stress handling techniques and tips to prevent and alleviate anxiety and fear in pets during veterinary procedures. Upon completion, individuals receive Fear Free Certification.

Veterinary Practices

The veterinary practice certification program is designed to educate the entire team in a veterinary facility. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, kennel assistants, customer service representatives, practice managers, and other staff learn together just as they would during the individual Fear Free training program. After training, a Fear Free Practice Certification Veterinarian will visit the practice to confirm that it qualifies for Fear Free Practice Certification.

Animal Trainers

The Fear Free Animal Trainer Program enables pet trainers to work with veterinary professionals and pet owners in order to minimize stress, anxiety, and fear during vet visits and at home.

Pet Groomers

The Fear Free Groomer Certification Program trains professional pet groomers to use Fear Free concepts when grooming pets. The goal is to make pets’ grooming sessions is as comfortable as possible. The course includes pet handling and grooming techniques that can provide a relaxing experience for pets.

Pet Owners

The Fear Free Happy Homes program provides videos with advice that can help pet owners provide calm and stress-free home environments for their pets. These tips are especially useful for owners of pets that experience fear and anxiety often. Best of all, it’s free to sign up.


Animal shelters are extremely stressful for most animals. The Fear Free Shelters program teaches shelter team members techniques to help reduce stress in the shelter. This includes low-stress handling tips as well as ways to improve the shelter environment.

How to Become Fear Free Certified

To participate in a Fear free program, visit the Fear Free website and choose the program that is appropriate for you based upon your profession. If you are a pet owner not working in an animal-related field, then the Happy Homes program is the one for you.

How Fear Free Certification Helps Pets and People

Veterinary professionals and practices with Fear Free Certification offer a unique experience for pets and their people. Of course, many non-certified practices use low-stress handling techniques and create relaxing environments for pets. However, the Fear Free certification is one way you can know what to expect during vet visits.

The Fear Free certified veterinary team will work closely with you and your pet to come up with the best plan for transporting your pet to and from the vet without creating unnecessary stress. From the moment your pet enters the vet office, staff will work to keep your pet calm and at ease. This includes preventing exposure to other animals in the waiting room, preparing the exam room in a way that is most comfortable for the pet, and handling the pet in the most calming way possible.

Fear Free vet offices provide slip-free surfaces to help dogs feel more stable and comfortable standing on a table or the floor. They work with cats in their carrier or gently coax them out for procedures. They provide treats that can help create a positive association with the They also use animal pheromones like Adaptil and Feliway to send calming signals to dogs and cats. Fear Free professionals are able to quickly identify signs of stress in pets and make adjustments to soothe the pet.

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