A visit to the vet is always stressful for both owners and pets, but there should be as little stress as possible in the waiting room. Owners are responsible for keeping their own pets safe and for ensuring that their pets don’t annoy or endanger others. So let’s talk about proper etiquette for pet safety while waiting to be called into an examination room.
Pet Safety – Keep Your Cat in a Carrier
A contained cat is a safe cat. Sitting your cat on your lap is a disaster waiting to happen, especially when two German shepherds walk in. A cat in a carrier can’t scratch or bite anyone and is unable to bolt out the door into the parking lot.
Sit in a Safe Place – Whatever you do, don’t add to your cat’s stress by sitting next to a barking or lunging dog. If the waiting room is full, ask the front desk if there’s a quieter spot you can wait in.
Pet Safety – Keep Your Dog on an Unretractable Leash
This rule applies even to seeing-eye dogs and dogs that have earned obedience certificates. Keep your dog away from other dogs, even if he just wants to say hi. If you have a puppy, all that puppy energy might annoy an adult dog. And, if your puppy hasn’t yet had all his shots, you might be exposing other dogs to possible illnesses. The same goes if your adult dog is ill and may have something contagious.
Prepare for Your Dog to be Nervous – Give your dog a chance to relieve himself before entering the vet’s office. If nerves get the better of him and he has an accident in the waiting room, alert the front desk so the mess can be cleaned up. If your dog is hyper or frightened, keep him in the car while checking in. Then take him back out immediately after you leave the exam room and before paying the bill.
Pet Safety – Small Mammals, Birds, and Reptiles
It goes without saying that these pets should be safely contained in a suitable carrier even at a species-specific clinic. Your hamster or mouse shouldn’t have the chance to scuttle under a file cabinet. And, your large boa constrictor should not be allowed to scare people who are afraid of snakes. Small furry critters like bunnies and guinea pigs (and even kittens) are often seen by dogs as fast food snacks. Certain breeds are hard-wired to hunt and will go after them out of pure instinct. The same goes for birds and cats – they don’t mix.
Good manners equate to safety for your pet and protection against him getting bitten, frightened, or contracting a disease. Ask permission before approaching other people’s cute animals to pet. If someone says “please don’t sit near my dog,” then don’t. Animals in pain may bite, and you can’t know if someone else’s pet is in pain. With a little forethought and courtesy, your stay in the waiting room will be calm for everyone. If you have a pet emergency and you live in Columbia, South Carolina, don’t hesitate to bring him to the CVETS waiting room. You won’t be in there long, but we want him to be safe.