Hospital Barking Up Right Tree for Canine Welfare

August 18, 2023

A state-of-the-art Essex animal hospital is now also top dog for its high quality of care for canines.

Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Basildon is the first Linnaeus-owned referral centre in the UK to join the Dog Friendly Clinic Scheme, an initiative run by Dogs Trust and the British Veterinary Behaviour Association (BVBA).

The programme ensures the most comfortable veterinary care experience possible for dogs and their owners.

Ipek Seyis, Registered Veterinary Nurse and patient welfare co-lead at Southfields, said: “Becoming a dog-friendly clinic is an incredibly important part of Southfields’ commitment to providing pets and their owners with the best possible experience throughout their journey with us.

“Dog anxiety when visiting the vet can be traumatising for everyone involved and may even put off owners seeking veterinary help when needed.

“Having a better understanding of canine behaviour can help to minimise the anxiety associated with a visit to the vet, creating a calmer and safer experience for the dog, owner, and veterinary team.

“Southfields is delighted and proud to participate in the Dogs Trust Pet Friendly Clinic Scheme and recognise the huge difference this will make for our canine friends and their owners during, what can be, a stressful time.”

The Dog Friendly Clinic scheme helps practice staff, such as those at Southfields, develop dog behaviour knowledge and skills so they can recognise and address early signs of anxiety and improve the welfare of dogs whilst in the clinic. This means improved safety for staff and customers and helps the client-clinic bond.

Through the scheme created by Dogs Trust and the BVBA, canine experts provide the tools for clinic staff to learn more about dog behaviour, including how pain and health conditions can be contributing factors to behaviour, and how to reduce the impact of visiting the vet for dogs.

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 Southfields 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.”

Southfields, which moved into its state-of-the-art £16 million Basildon hospital last summer, offers specialist services such as anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.

For more information, go to or search Southfields Veterinary Specialists on social media.

To find out more about the Dog Friendly Clinic Scheme visit