Service Dog and Pet Visitation

Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) is committed to safe, easy, and equal access to quality health care for patients and guests of all abilities. We appreciate the importance of your dog's service and companionship. This information, developed with careful consideration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), will help visitors to our facility understand how we welcome service animals.

D-H welcomes:

Please ensure the following animals remain in the comfort of your home and outside of D-H facilities:

  • Emotional support animals (non-psychiatric service animals).
  • Personal pets. In special circumstances, a personal pet may be approved to visit with a patient who is in the hospital. Such visits require coordination with D-H staff. To arrange this type of visit, please see the "About personal pet visitation" section below, or talk to the patient's care provider to ask about a visit.

If you are visiting the hospital with a dog

If your dog is a service dog, a registered D-H volunteer therapy dog or has been approved for a special visit to a hospitalized patient, please help us maintain a safe and comfortable environment for all D-H patients and guests by ensuring that the dog:

  • Remains leashed at all times.
  • Is in good health, and free of fever, stomach upset and diarrhea, fleas, and skin lesions.
  • Has received the appropriate shots and is registered with your city or town.
  • Exhibits a friendly, non-threatening temperament for the safety and well-being of all guests. Dogs that display behaviors such as growling, jumping, lunging, snarling, or nipping are likely to bring discomfort to other guests and will be asked to leave the facility.

D-H staff and volunteers are not responsible for the care of any animal on the premises. All animals on-site must have a designated handler.

About personal pet visitation

In special circumstances, D-H may be able to allow a visit from a personal pet for patients with prolonged hospitalization. If you or a loved one are a patient in the hospital at D-H and may benefit from a visit with a personal pet, your D-H care team can help you determine how to schedule a visit.

The nursing unit manager who oversees the unit's care will work with you, D-H Infection Prevention (known as "CHIP"), and the D-H Security Office to assess the impact of a personal pet visit for patients and families in the immediate area.

If you or a loved one plan to arrange for a personal pet visit with the local nursing unit manager, please ensure that a designated person — neither staff nor patient — will be on-site at D-H to provide care and supervision of the dog for the entirety of the dog's visit.

Unfortunately, there are certain areas of D-H that are unable to accommodate any animals due to increased risk of infection or harm to those in our care. Please help us keep the following spaces animal-free:

  • 1 West Inpatient Unit
  • Critical Care Units
  • Expanded precaution rooms (patient rooms that require additional protective barriers, such as masks, gloves, gowns, etc.)
  • Food prep and medication prep areas
  • Hematology Special Care Unit
  • Immunocompromised patient rooms
  • Newborn baby rooms
  • Operating rooms and recovery rooms
  • Same-Day Surgery Program

Accident clean-up

If a pet has an accident, we ask that the handler help us prevent falls by wiping clean the immediate area. We also ask that the handler notify a staff member of the exact location of the accident so that the site can be properly disinfected by our Environmental Services team.

Questions about pet visitation

If you have questions about bringing a pet to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, please call Security Services. You can also stop by one of our information desks.