Best (rather than beastly) behavior earns bonus points for pets and their owners waiting to see the vet.
The waiting room at the local animal hospital or veterinary clinic can be a pleasant place or a hazardous hassle, depending upon the conduct of the customers and their animal companions. How many times has a loose cat, an unruly dog, or an exuberant exotic pet transformed a quiet and orderly vet office into mad mayhem?
Here are 10 etiquette pointers for pet owners to exercise, while passing the time in veterinarians’ waiting rooms with their animal companions. Perhaps these tips could be tagged as vet-iquette.
1. Be on time for veterinary appointments.
Arriving on time for an appointment at the animal hospital is the cardinal rule of proper conduct, respecting the schedules of the veterinary staff and their customers.
2. Bring extra helpers, if you take multiple pets to the vet.
For convenience’s sake, pet owners often try to schedule vet check-ups and routine appointments for all of their animals at once. However, this only works, if those folks can manage their multiple pets adeptly in the waiting areas and exam rooms. Smart and polite pet owners enlist back-up handlers, taking friends or family members along to help hold pets.
3. Take only those pets that actually have animal doctor appointments.
Juggling multiple pets is tricky. For courtesy and safety, pet owners should only show up at veterinary offices with those pets that are scheduled for examinations or medical care. Far too many pet owners appear for scheduled appointments with extra pets, expecting veterinarians to check or treat these additional animals on the spot. Such surprises are rude and impractical, putting considerate vets in a bad spot.
4. Give pets a chance to “go” before you go into the vet’s office.
Many veterinary clinics have puppy park areas outside for clients to use before entering their facilities. Pet owners are generally expected to pick up after their pets. Vet customers with cats, ferrets, or other animals ought to offer their pets opportunities to relieve themselves in advance of doctor visits as well. This courtesy practice helps to eliminate pet accidents at the vet’s office, especially when animals become agitated or nervous.
Also, pet owners are often encouraged to show up at animal hospitals or veterinary offices with prepackaged stool samples for laboratory testing.
5. Be patient, as you wait to see the animal doctor.
Veterinarians’ offices tend to be busy places, frequently carrying back-to-back rosters of patient appointments. Courteous customers will wait quietly for their turns. Pets are often empathetic creatures, picking up their masters’ emotions and stress, so calm patience may even reap benefits in better pet behavior during checkups and vet care sessions.
6. Keep young children in check in the animal doctor’s waiting area.
Supervising pets for veterinary appointments can prove particularly challenging when youngsters are allowed to frolic freely in waiting rooms. Rowdy, rambunctious, or whining children may make animals nervous or irritated – not to mention other human customers. Polite vet customers keep tabs on their own kids or make arrangements for child care during their animals’ medical exams and treatments.
7. Contain or control pets in the vet’s waiting room.
Most veterinarians insist all pets are caged, crated, harnessed, or leased while visiting their facilities. This rule of vet etiquette and safety protects both customers and pets from possible conflict, injury, or even infection.
8. Respect other animals’ personal space while waiting for the vet.
Even contained pets may require a certain circumference of free space between them and other animals. Nose to nose sniffing and other natural pet behaviors are generally impolite and inappropriate at the animal clinic. Pet owners do well to consider that other animals may be visiting the vet because they have diseases or infections, which may prove contagious. In addition, injured animals may behave more aggressively or unpredictably than usual.
9. Don’t pet or treat other people’s pets without permission.
Likewise, vet visitors need to ask owners of other pets before attempting to pet these animals. Certainly, no one ought to offer pet treats or toys to another’s pet at the vet’s office, for safety and etiquette reasons.
10. Save the cellular phone use for outside the vet’s office.
Ringing phones and loud, lengthy cell phone conversations help no one in the veterinary waiting room, or even in the exam rooms, where speakers may easily be overheard. Ideally, pet owners will silence or switch off their phones during such times. In the very least, folks may resort to text messaging for urgent communications, while waiting in vet offices.
These common sense courtesies can make veterinary visits less stressful and more successful for pet owners, their animals and those around them.