P. 657

D. Martin1
1TEAM Education in Animal Behavior, Behavior, Spicewood, USA
Fear FreeSM: Learning to Listen to Our Patients
Debbie Martin, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, LVT, VTS (Behavior) Spicewood, TX, USA,
“The goal of Fear FreeSM is to improve patient health, welfare, and well-being as well as enhance the client and team experience.” In order to accomplish this goal, we need to be able to understand how our patients might perceive the veterinary hospital, recognize behavioral indicators of relaxation as well as fear, anxiety, and stress in our patients, and realize how pleasant and unpleasant associations can be formed.
Sensory Perception
Stimuli in the veterinary hospital can create fear,
anxiety, and stress in our canine and feline patients. Understanding how our patients perceive the
veterinary hospital, allows us to not only empathize,
but also develop solutions to make their experience more pleasant. In order to understand a dog or
cat’s perception of our hospital, we need to have an understanding of their senses. We will explore how dogs and cats’ sensory perception compares to human perception.
Compared to humans, dogs and cats have poor visual acuity, a wider  eld of vision, and a smaller area of binocular vision. Cat see about 20/100-200, have a  eld of vision of 200° and a binocular vision overlap of 90- 100°.1 The visual acuity of the dog is about 20/75 with
a  eld of vision of 245° binocular overlap of only 30-60° pending facial morphology.2 In comparison, a human generally sees 20/20, has a  eld of vision of 180° with a binocular  eld of vision overlap of 140°. Although dogs and cats do not have very good visual acuity, they are very good at motion detection. Compared to humans, both cats and dogs can see better in dim light because of the increased number of rods in the retina and the tapetum lucidum, a re ective layer located behind the retina. Color vision is less developed in dogs and cats. Cats most likely have dichromatic vision with sensitivity to greenish-yellow and blue. Dogs are considered red-green color blind.
According to Heather E Lewis, AIA, “The ability to see the UVB spectrum is interesting because it means
that some materials appear to  uoresce to dogs [and cats], including organic material like urine that contains phosphorous as well as bright white, manmade materials such as paper, plastic and white fabrics, Lewis says. Because these white items are more visually jarring to dogs [and cats], their use should be avoided.”
Cats and dogs hear a wider range of frequencies than humans. The range of frequency for the cat is 20 Hz up to 85,000-100,000 Hz with the useful range probably
up to 60,000 Hz.1, 4 The range for dogs is 15 Hz up to 65,000 Hz with hearing best at around 4,000 Hz.2 The range for humans is 20 Hz up to 19,000.2 Because dogs and cats have moveable pinnae they are better able to locate the source of sounds.
Dogs and cats have more epithelium dedicated to smell than humans; Dogs 20-200 sq. cm, cats 20 sq. cm, and humans 2-4 sq. cm.2 Smells are an important form of communication for dogs and cats. The vomeronasal organ is located in the roof of mouth. In dogs it does not open into the nasal cavity as it does in cats.
The vomeronasal organ is important for detecting pheromones and in social communication.2
The dog’s perception of taste is similar to humans. They are sensitive to sweets and prefer novel/fatty foods. Palatability is affected by texture, smell, temperature, and  avor. The typical adult cat responds to salty,
sour, and bitter tastes. The cat’s response to sugars is inconclusive.4
Touch is important for maintaining social relationships. Touch receptors are located at base of every hair and the vibrissa are especially sensitive. Skin receptors sense proprioception, pain, temperature, chemical stimulation, and pressure. Touch can be calming, arousing, or aversive, depending on the type of touch, the circumstances, and the individual.
Sensory perception chart
Make a list of stimuli that the pet or client will see, hear, smell, taste, or feel in your hospital. Visually transport yourself from the parking lot to the housing/kennel area. Group the stimuli in categories of potentially pleasant and potentially unpleasant.
An Urban Experience

   655   656   657   658   659