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Dog-Friendly Practice and how to become one

02 April 2019
2 mins read
Volume 10 · Issue 3


Most veterinary professionals are aware of the Cat Friendly Clinic initiative, but did you know that it is now possible to become a Dog-Friendly Practice? Rachel Malkani from the British Veterinary Behaviour Association explains why this new certification programme is necessary.

Regular veterinary visits are integral to maintain good physical health and welfare; however, veterinary examinations and procedures can result in reduced mental wellbeing, leading to anxiety and fear of the veterinary practice (Döring et al, 2009; Edwards et al, 2019; Stellato et al, 2019). We would never send a dog home clinically unwell; yet, negatively impacting a dog's mental state is generally accepted as being a by-product of the veterinary consultation.

Dogs that are fearful or have negative associations with the veterinary practice are more likely to act defensively and with aggression. A common method to manage these dogs is to muzzle them and use more force. This may ease the examination for the vet; however, the dog is likely in a state of distress, and may react with heightened aggression in anticipation of another negative experience at the next visit. This may result in a breakdown of the vet–client bond. Furthermore, increased stress in the veterinary clinic will also impact physiological parameters such as heart rate and blood pressure etc (Bragg et al, 2015), confounding the clinical examination.

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