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Dr. Becker’s Fear Free Tips for Pet Parents

The television veterinarian’s advice for helping your pet stay calm in stressful situations.

Dr. Marty Becker; photo credit: Eli Francovich/The Spokesman-Review

1. Remember that pets have a full range of emotions, including fear, joy, happiness, jealousy, pleasure, compassion, grief, relief, sadness, despair and love.

2. Dogs pick up on our anxiety. When you’re taking a pet to the vet, don’t use baby talk and coddle it. This amps up their own anxieties.

3. Pets communicate with us through voice, body language and overall demeanor. You have an obligation to connect with your pet in any way you can.

4. Understand your pet, and allow it to be what it is. Retrievers want to retrieve. Let them retrieve. Terriers want to dig. Let them dig.

5. Never allow your pet to get into extreme distress. Use distractions, a compression shirt for dogs, calming music or prescribed medication, if needed.

Read Dr. Becker’s inspiring story about confronting his own fears

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