10 Things NOT to Do With Your Pets in the Vet

No. 1: Don’t fail to contain your cats. Even if your cat is the sweetest thing on record, some other animals may not agree. The last thing we want is to see in our lobbies is an altercation in which one animal dies. Cat carriers are cheap and widely available. Use them.
By Pets Team
Published on Thursday, 28 October 2010

No. 1: Don’t fail to contain your cats. Even if your cat is the sweetest thing on record, some other animals may not agree. The last thing we want is to see in our lobbies is an altercation in which one animal dies. Cat carriers are cheap and widely available. Use them.

No. 2: Don’t give dogs free reign. The business end of the leash should be in your hands, not at your dog’s head. If you can’t keep him close and controlled then it’s time to ask the receptionist if there’s a better place for your pet to wait.

And here’s an important corollary: Don’t use retractable leashes! These tools have their place, but it’s not in a veterinary hospital. If you must use one at the vet’s, make sure you know how it works and keep your pet perma-locked on the shortest setting.

No. 3: Don’t bring in animals you cannot personally control. Not unless you’ve made arrangements for direct assistance. It may seem convenient to bring all of your pets in at once for basic care but that’s NOT what’s safest.

No. 4: Don’t do the puppy park meet-and-greet thing. The vet’s is not the dog park. It’s a strange environment in which pets don’t always act the way you expect them to. Moreover, in a veterinary hospital the onus is on us to keep your dogs safe. Legally, we’re liable if your dogs fight. Please keep all pets apart. After all, no matter how well you know your pet, can you honestly say you know someone else’s?

No. 5: Don’t pet other pets without asking first. Again, the vet’s place is a strange and stressful environment. And yes, if you get bit it’s on our dime––not to mention our conscience.

No. 6: Give the cellphone a rest. In a place as potentially anxiety provoking as the vet hospital, cellphones can be a hazard. Even if you don’t feel the anxiety your pet certainly does. She deserves the comfort of your undivided attention for her safety and her stress level. And those around you don’t want to hear your life’s details, anyhow.

No. 7: Don’t walk a dog into a packed waiting room. If the lobby is crammed wall-to-wall with pets, don’t chance it. Ask someone to let the receptionist know you’re waiting outside. Or use your cellphone for something really useful, for once.

No. 8: Don’t fail to tell the receptionist ahead of time if your pet is severely anxious or aggressive. All hospitals appreciate the warning when you make your appointment. It gives us a chance to offer you back-door alternatives or other concessions to your pet’s unique behavior issues.

No. 9: Don’t bring small children unless you can’t help it. A busy animal hospital is tough on small kids. They’re not old enough to benefit enough from the educational experience relative to their risk of getting hurt.

No. 10: Don’t be rude. Courtesy is king. Kill them with kindness. Etc. I shouldn’t have to offer you so many versions of the same cliché, but the fact that they all exist is fine testament to their utility … or perhaps to their futility.

By Patty Khuly, a small-animal veterinarian in Miami, is author of FullyVetted, a blog on pet health at PetMD.com.