As a certification program, brand, organization, technique, approach, and even a philosophy, Fear Free has had an incredibly positive impact on the veterinary and pet professional industry and the type of care we all give to our best friends. As we grow, find the latest Fear Free related news and mentions here in our Newsroom, as well as all of our press releases. 


Toronto’s Downtown Animal Hospital Is First Fear Free Certified Veterinary Practice in Canada

Denver, Colo. – Toronto’s Downtown Animal Hospital has been proving that pets can have a gentle, healing, even fun time at the veterinarian for years. Now they’ve achieved what no other Canadian veterinary hospital has done before: become the country’s first Fear FreeSM Certified Veterinary Practice – and only the second in the world.

Fear Free was founded by Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian” and 17-year veteran of Good Morning America to eliminate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. The intensive certification course was developed with input from a 160-member advisory group, including board-certified veterinary behaviorists, well-known veterinary practice management experts, and other leaders in the field.

Fear Free training and certification has been available to individual veterinary professionals since 2016. Since launch, nearly 29,000 professionals have enrolled in the course, and more than 17,000 have been certified.

That includes Downtown Animal Hospital’s owner, Dr. Jonathan Bloom, who is not only individually certified but regularly speaks and writes about Fear Free Certification, educating other veterinary professionals on providing for both the emotional and physical well-being of pets. When Fear Free Practice Certification became available on April 2, 2018, he and his team were among the first veterinary hospitals in the world to apply.

“Dr. Bloom has long been an inspiration to all of us in the Fear Free community,” said Becker. “He and his incredible team truly walk the talk about providing care without fear, anxiety, and stress for the pets they are dedicated to serving. We are extremely proud to welcome Downtown Animal Hospital as Canada’s first Fear Free Certified Practice.”

While the Fear Free approach addresses pets’ emotional health, its implementation leads to better physical health care, too. “The veterinarian is able to do a more thorough and accurate examination, provide gentle preventive care options for the pet, and is able to more accurately screen for and detect problems at the earliest time possible,” Bloom said. “For those pets who need extended care, it also assures a comfortable and welcoming stay. Pets have never been happier, and health care has never been better.”

Bloom describes the Fear Free experience at Downtown Animal Hospital as one where every visit to the veterinarian is the best imaginable for the pet. “Cats may be playful, purring, exploring, and socially interactive,” he said. “Dogs may pull you into the veterinary practice wagging their tails. They commonly jump all over the veterinarian trying to lick their faces. They’re excited and happy, and they may not want to leave when their appointment is over!”

The Fear Free Practice Certification process is an exhaustive one, and hospitals like Downtown Animal Hospital that achieve certification will have successfully incorporated Fear Free in all aspects of their practice culture and leadership, including client education, staff training, and facility and patient experience.

Before a practice can apply, a minimum of 25% of the veterinary team members must be individually trained and certified, and team-wide familiarity and adoption of Fear Free approaches must be in place. However, Downtown Animal Hospital took it a step further, entering into the practice certification process with every one of its veterinarians and full-time staff certified.

After application, a comprehensive on-site evaluation by a practice certification veterinarian takes place. All veterinarians conducting the evaluations are themselves Level 1 and Level 2 Fear Free Certified, and have taken all of Fear Free’s available CE.

“When you and your pet visit us, your healthcare team will be your partner, working alongside you, to better understand and address your pet’s emotional needs while together you move forward in your effort to address your pet’s traditional healthcare needs,” Bloom said. “Pet owners can have peace of mind knowing their veterinarian is working to create an enjoyable experience without the challenges and barriers of years past.”

Veterinary professionals can visit to sign up and begin Fear Free individual or practice certification.


About Fear Free

Developed by “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker, the Fear Free initiative aims to “take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified’” and get pets back for veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments. Utilization of Fear Free methods and protocols leads to reduction or removal of anxiety triggers, which creates an experience that is rewarding and safer for all involved, including pets, their owners, and veterinary health care teams. The end result? Calmer, more accepting patients, more compliant clients, and better veterinary care. For more information, visit


Jessica Davis
Marketing and Communications Manager

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Happy Paws Magazine

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