At East Coast Bays Vet Clinic we strongly believe that having calmer, less stressed and fearful patients fits well with our approach of keeping pets healthy and happy. 

Though an increasing number of dogs pull their owners into the Practice we also have dogs with varying levels of fear, anxiety and stress. Our goal is to use a variety of gentle handling techniques to minimise anxiety and create a more positive experience for your loved pet.

Before your visit

It's great if your dog is happy in the car. If the only time the car is used is for the trip to the Vet for a painful ear infection then this won't be helpful. Trips to the beach or park for walks will help create a positive association for most dogs. Coming to the Clinic socially just to meet the nurses and get some fuss and treats is recommended.

If your dog suffers from car sickness there are medication options to prevent this unpleasantness. Using a harness while travelling to secure your dog is recommended for safety and a feeling of security. Bringing a favourite toy or blanket with them is helpful.

Other options for reducing anxiety incude using Adaptil pheromone spray placed on a doggy bandana 15minutes before needed. Playing quiet music in the car or a snug shirt eg "thunder shirt" can help some dogs. For moderately anxious dogs a dose of a gentle anti anxiety medication an hour before visiting can be worth trialling.

If a urine sample is not needed then please let your dog have a toilet opportunity before visiting for added comfort.

Remember to bring your dog to the clinic a little hungry as the best tool we have for creating positive experiences are food treats. If your dog has special foods or favourite treats please bring these along to help us.

During your visit

For those dogs that are highly aroused or aggressive when around other dogs please advise our team before your visit or when you arrive. Options include waiting in your car or in our garden area until the way is clear and a nurse can direct you straight through to a consultation room. Always talk in a calm voice regardless of your dogs actions as baby talk or a raised voice is likely to increase your dogs worry.

For some minor procedures it may be possible for the Vet to do these in the garden area if your dog is more comfortable here than going into a room.

Within our reception area there is an Adaptil pheromone diffuser always operating to calm dogs as well as treats and kindness from the nurses. In our consultation rooms we have non slip mats on the tables for small dog examinations. 

We will usually have a range of treat options to help distract your dog for procedures and create a positive experience for next time. Feel free to bring favourite treats with you.

We will use various gentle techniques to allow stress free procedures but won't force your dog and create a negative experience. If your dog is too stressed then sedation may be required if the procedure is needed. If not urgent this could be rescheduled after a previsit dose of antianxiety medication given at home while the dog is still calm.

For those dogs that bite when fearful it is very important to train your dog to accept the placement of a basket muzzle as a positive experience. Placing food such as peanut butter at the end of the muzzle will encourage your dog to place its face in the muzzle gradually making it something your dog will willingly accept at home. Having to place an unfamiliar muzzle when your dog is already frightened may not be possible and will create the negative experience we are trying to avoid. For some dogs this will be important for providing low stress medical care without sedation.

Gentle control with basket muzzle training video

While in hospital

When your pet stays with us in the Clinic for medical or surgical care we continue to focus on their emotional wellbeing. Our dog ward is comfortable with insulated cages, airconditioning, odour extraction and fluffy blankets for all. We have numerous warming devices to ensure your pet is never cold.

We have special music playing in the ward that has been shown to relax dogs and we can confirm it works with barking dogs now the exception at our Practice. The ward also has an Adaptil diffuser operating all the time to lower arousal.

We also have the luxury of a nurse who attends to our patients all day. The direct contact of having someone in the ward with them is very helpful for many dogs. The dog ward is sound proofed from noise elsewhere in the practice. If you have brought a favourite toy or blanket this will be placed with your pet.

We are always open to suggestions on how to improve your pets emotional experience when visiting us