Ah, the veterinarian’s waiting room. It can be a stressful place for both pets and pet parents, with lunging dogs, whining cats, loud voices, and peculiar smells. Chances are you’ve been a witness to some annoying or unsafe behaviors before, but have you ever evaluated your own waiting room etiquette? It can be easy to forget our manners when we are worried about our pet’s health, distracted by the chaos of the office, or simply having a bad day. Here we’ll look at some rules for how to be a courteous owner while waiting to see the vet.
Rule #1: Cats In Carriers, Dogs on Leashes
It can be tempting to carry a sick kitty in your arms, or let your dog off the leash to socialize once you get inside. However, both of these behaviors are unsafe for your pet and the other pets and people in the waiting area. Cats should always be in carriers. Carriers not only make cats feel safe and comfortable, they also keep a cat from leaping out of your arms, urinating on the floor, or scratching people or animals with their claws. Dogs should be on leashes, but not retractable leashes. Use a leash that will allow you to keep your dog close.
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Rule #2: Don’t Let Your Pet Bother Other Pets
The waiting room is already a stressful place for pets and pet parents, and it can be made even more stressful if an excited pet is trying to approach, sniff, or play with other animals. In addition, some pets in the waiting room are seriously ill, and may even have painful injuries that could cause them to lash out, or contagious conditions that could be passed to other pets. And in some cases, your pet might be the sick one.
Even if your pet is just trying to be friendly, the safest and most courteous thing to do is leave other pets alone. Cats should always be in carriers, so you won’t have to worry about this with them. Dogs, however, are on leashes, and owners sometimes give them too much leeway. Keep a short leash and train your pal to “stay.”
Rule #3: Don’t Let Other Pets Bother Your Pet
Just because you aren’t going to let your pet bother other pets doesn’t mean that all owners are going to follow the same rule. Regardless of what anyone else is doing, it is your responsibility to keep your pet safe. Avoid sitting next to lunging or barking dogs, and if a pet is bothering you or your pet, ask their owner to stop it or get up and move.
Rule #4: For Scared Or Aggressive Pets
If you have a pet who becomes fearful or aggressive around other animals, people, or specifically at the vet’s office, ask if you can wait in your car. Don’t let children or adults approach your pet, and keep a good distance from other pets when you do need to go inside. If you are finding it difficult to correct your pet’s unsafe behaviors, consider contacting a trainer or animal behaviorist; your veterinarian should be able to provide recommendations.
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Rule #5: Dealing With Accidents
Accidents aren’t uncommon in waiting rooms — nerves can get the best of many pets. To avoid accidents, allow your pet to go to the bathroom before going inside. If an accident does occur, don’t try to rush your buddy outside; that will only create a bigger mess. Instead, let nature happen, then let the front desk know so that someone can clean it up.
Have any waiting room etiquette rules of your own? Leave a comment below and let us know!