Old Lyme Veterinary Hospital

1 Davis Road West
Old Lyme, CT 06371



Low Stress Handling


At Old Lyme Veterinary Hospital, we strive to provide a happy, stress-free visit for your pet. However, going to the vet can be a nervous experience for your pet due to strange smells, sights, and sounds.


To help your pet feel at ease, we continually assess your pet's body language and reactions to stimuli (including handling, injections, and treatments). These assessments help us work with your pet at the appointment, and even to begin planning for future appointments. Our staff uses the Algorithm for Handling Patients, developed by Colleen S. Koch, DVM. From her article A low-stress handling algorithm: Key to happier visits and healthier pets:


"This algorithm outlines assessing body language, initiating contact, reassessing body language, and readjusting based on the patient's response every time the environment changes and with each interaction with the veterinary team. Being cognizant of your patient's emotional state will help you build a better relationship with both your clients and patients, thus increasing patient well-being, client compliance and job satisfaction for the entire veterinary staff."


To help explain this concept, we've included Dr Koch's visual algorithm below. To read her full article explaining the algorithm, please visit the following link.


If you have any questions, please contact us. We look forward to working with your pet!


Algorithm for handling patients

Fear Free is a nationally recognized professional certification program that aims to alleviate fear, anxiety and stress in pets by providing education to veterinary and pet professionals, animal welfare communities and pet owners. The Old Lyme Veterinary Hospital team members are proud to be Fear Free certified. Pets are family and we understand they can be fearful when visiting a veterinary hospital or become anxious when receiving medical care. 

Our goal is to approach all pets in a relaxed, non-threatening manner and  create a calm, safe and secure environment. We share proven methods that reduce or remove anxiety triggers that can cause pets to become fearful at home, in transport, and at the veterinary hospital. Our goal is to reflect empathy and kindness in the gentlest way possible for each visit. 


For Dogs: 

  • Our entire hospital is painted in Fear Free approved colors to reduce stress - learn more here!
  • Treats are available at all times
  • We offer kong & peanut butter
  • Pets can be examined on the floor
  • Beggin Stripz
  • Eazy Cheese
  • Kong Squeezable Peanutbutter
  • Soft & Chewy Milkbones
  • K9 Carry out Mini Burgers

Kong Items

For Cats: 

  • Our staff understands the unique needs and behaviors of cats
  • We have a feline-friendly environment and make veterinary visits more cat friendly
  • We understand how to approach and handle cats in a gentle, empathetic, and caring manner
  • We utilize appropriate equipment and have facilities needed to diagnose and treat feline patients
  • Our hospital meets the specific standards for the care of hospitalized cats
  • Fancy Feast Foil Packets
  • Baby Food
  • Temptation Fish Flavored Mix-Ups
  • Anchovy Paste
Cat Stress Free Area

Cat Stress Free Items