A popular Hampstead veterinary practice in Belsize Terrace has been honoured with a prestigious award for its high quality of care for dogs.
Village Vet Hampstead has received one of the first Dog Friendly Clinic accreditations by the Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest canine charity and the British Veterinary Behaviour Association (BVBA).
It is the first Linnaeus-owned practice to receive the accolade and is also one of the first members of the Dog Friendly Clinic scheme.
Domante Semetaite, lead nurse at Village Vet Hampstead, said: “It’s quite an honour to be a member of this scheme, while also being the first Linnaeus-owned practice to be involved.
“Having the dog-friendly title helps us support our patients and clients even further, while developing as a practice.”
Over the past year, Village Vet has implemented a raft of improvements to gain the coveted status.
Among them have been working with behavioural knowledge experts so canine emotional health is considered the same way as physical health.
This has resulted in changed handling protocols at the practice, an even better understanding of canine body language and keeping up to date with new scientific studies relating to behaviour to ensure patients receive the best care possible.
Village Vet has also started giving first aid behavioural advice to clients and referring more cases to accredited behaviourists.
For hospitalised patients, Village Vet has introduced stress scores to assess their emotional state to give the whole team a better understanding of stress in dogs.
Visitors to the practice will benefit from an improved reception area, with visual and physical barriers between dogs, and there’s also a separate cat and dog waiting area and a list of accredited trainers and behaviourists.
Away from reception there are improved kennel areas with better bedding, toys, calming music and pheromones. There’s also allocated dog parks for patients who don’t want to stay in kennels.
Domante added: “In our dog-friendly practice, owners are provided with more guidance on how to help with their anxious dogs and how to make their visits more enjoyable.
“We also offer more support and guidance to clients before their visits to ensure they are less stressful for the owner and their pets.”
Dr Rachel Casey, Head of Canine Behaviour and Research at Dogs Trust, said: “Veterinary care is an essential part of dogs’ lives, but some find visits to the vets stressful. We are very pleased to collaborate with the BVBA to create the Dog Friendly Clinic scheme to help veterinary practices embed the principles of behavioural medicine into clinic life.
“Vet clinics are at the forefront of recognising and preventing the development of problem behaviours in dogs, and this scheme will help them develop the skills and knowledge to optimise the wellbeing of the dogs in their care.”
Chris Laurence, Chair of BVBA, said: “Encouraging welfare-friendly treatment of dogs in veterinary practices is one of our primary objectives so every additional practice means many more dogs will benefit.
“We’re delighted that Village Vet has joined our dog friendly community. By doing so, they are helping ensure every dog has as positive an experience as possible within their clinic.”
Village Vet has 30 practices across London, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.