For more than 30 years, Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital has been committed to excellence and compassion in caring for pets and now they have achieved what no other Michigan Veterinary Hospital has done before: become the first Fear Free Certified Practice in Michigan.

At Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital we treat each client and every pet with dignity, compassion, and care. Our team passionately provides outstanding and exceptional services that enrich the human-animal bond

Designed to reduce fear, anxiety and stress in pets receiving veterinary care, Fear Free was founded by Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian” and 17-year veteran of Good Morning America.

Becker believes that Fear Free is the best approach to veterinary care. Fear Free allows veterinary professionals to practice a higher quality of medicine while elevating care for their patients, and pet owners who are looking for a stress-free experience for their pets and themselves.”

Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital’s entire administrative, veterinary, grooming, reception and boarding staff are individually certified in Fear Free techniques. These techniques are designed to help pets experience fear free visits and live happy, healthy full lives.

As veterinary professionals, Chief of Staff, Dr. Christopher Hilton and team know that the stress and anxiety associated with taking a pet to the veterinarian can be a significant reason why many owners delay or do not bring their pets in for care. GVH’s team of pet health experts are dedicated to eliminating fear, anxiety and stress to create an experience that is better and safer for all involved, including pets, owners and veterinary health care teams.

Stress reducing protocols include species specific waiting areas, nonslip surfaces, pheromone diffusers, anti-anxiety medications and treats, lots of treats. The Staff also employ other techniques such as avoiding initial eye contact with the pet when possible and using toys as a distraction technique. The team will also perform exams & procedures in the reassuring presence of the owner whenever possible.

“We’ve already noticed a difference,” says groomer Sherill, “dogs are pulling their way into the ‘spa’ wagging their tails”. Dr. Hilton sees a difference in the less-stressed owners, too. “Pets can pick up on their owner’s emotions, so this new way of caring for a pet diffuses the tension in the room for both pet and owner.”

While the Fear Free approach addresses pets’ emotional health, it also leads to better physical health care. “With these innovative techniques, the veterinarian and our team can do a more thorough and accurate examination, provide gentle preventive care options and more accurately screen for and detect problems at the earliest time possible,” Dr. Hilton said.

Gibraltar receptionist Joyce Bickel knows that Fear Free is working. “Cats are more playful, purring, exploring and interactive when you offer them a treat at check in. Dogs are excited and happily licking faces when they are leaving. You know it’s been a good experience if you get a smooch”.

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

Before a practice can apply for certification, a minimum of 75% 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. Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital raised the bar even higher by certifying the entire practice: Veterinarians, Veterinary Nurses, Assistants, Receptionists, Lodging attendants, Groomers and Administration.

Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital: GVH has been offering exceptional companion animal care to southeastern Michigan for over 30 years. GVH is proudly accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association and the first certified Fear Free Hospital in Michigan and the sixth in the United States. Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital

“At Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital we treat each client and every pet with dignity, compassion, and care. Our team passionately provides outstanding and exceptional services that enrich the human-animal bond.”

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. Fear Free methods and protocols lead to reduction or removal of anxiety triggers, which creates an experience that is rewarding and safer for all involve, including pets, their owners and veterinary healthcare teams. The end result? Calmer, more accepting patients, more compliant clients and better veterinary care.

Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital is located at 28503 W. Jefferson Ave., Gibraltar. Call 734-675-5020, or visit and for further information.