Lobby Etiquette Tips for Your Next Vet Visit

Unfortunately, we all know how busy a veterinary office lobby can get. It seems like it can happen in the blink of an eye. Being prepared ahead of time can help in so many ways.

Here are some tips to follow so that your next visit will be a less stressful one.

  1. All pets should be on a leash or in a carrier
    • Carriers
      • Great for small dogs, cats and small exotic animals
      • Creates a safe area for these animals when coming to a stressful place
      • The best ones are easily taken apart, which really helps during the exam if the pet prefers to stay in the carrier.
    • Leashes
      • Pets should be on a leash that is 6ft. or less. Nylon, cloth or leather leashes are preferred over chain ones.
      • No retractable leashes, they can be a great tool at some times but are not appropriate at a vet clinic.
  2. Dogs should not be brought in wearing shock collars or pinch collars
    • Even if you use these methods outside of the veterinary office, they are still not appropriate for your visit.
    • Dogs are under a high amount of stress when visiting us and these tools can add to it.
    • It is your choice in the end, however, we hope you will be willing to try some of our techniques to make your dogs experience a more positive one.
  3. Ask BEFORE allowing your dog to meet other animals and people
    • This one is IMPORTANT!
    • Yes, your chances are good that the people your dog will encounter in a vet clinic lobby will be dog friendly. However, some clients have allergies, phobias and simply do not want your dog invading their space. Although some may not understand this decision, these clients deserve to feel comfortable when visiting their veterinarian.
    • There are many reasons to not allow your dog to meet other dogs at the vet clinic.
      • Animals are under a lot of stress at a veterinary hospital and can act completely different than what they would act like in their home environment.
      • Your dog might be friendly but not all dogs like other dogs in their space.
      • Many dogs are there because of illnesses. They could be contagious but more importantly they are not feeling well and shouldn’t be disturbed.                                                                * If your pet doesn’t appreciate being sniffed or interacted with, it is your job to make others aware of this and to protect your pet from other well-intentioned owners. Please make the staff aware of this as well so that they can assist you in keeping your  pet as stress-free as possible.
  4. Keep dogs away from carriers
    • For many animals this is their safe place and having a dog come right up to it can ruin this feeling of security. This could make that pets examination not go as smoothly as it should have.
  5. Be aware of your surroundings 
    • The atmosphere in a lobby can change quickly with all of the coming and going that happens. The staff members try to keep the lobby as calm as possible but keeping an eye out for situations that could escalate quickly is a great idea.
  6. Do not leave your pet unattended
    • This one doesn’t need much explaining. Even if you have to use the restroom, take your pet with you. Too many things could happen to them if they are unattended.
  7. Take high-value treats with you
    • We do offer an assortment of treats for your pets to try. Unfortunately many pets are too nervous to try our options.
    • Bringing your dog/cats favorite treats, canned food or toys can really help them to be more comfortable during their exam.
    • We’ll have another blog soon that will give you all kinds of ideas on what kind of treats work at the vet clinic.
  8. The appointment starts before you leave home                                  You heard that right! Here are a few quick ideas to get you started:
    • use calming pheromones like Feliway and DAP
    • desensitize your pets to their carrier or car restraint prior to any appointments
    • using essential oils like lavender and chamomile can also have a calming effect
    • find out what treats are your pets favorite
    • thunder shirts can also help cats and dogs with all kinds of anxiety, not just thunderstorms
  9. Call us ahead of time if you have any concerns
    • We are here to help! That means we want to help your pets be physically healthy as well as mentally.
    • We can help by:
      • giving you more tips to reduce stress, anxiety and fear
      • making a plan for when you arrive for your appointment; waiting in the car, using our side entrance, going directly into an exam room
      • discuss natural calming therapies as well as having a doctor call you back about using other medications that might help alleviate stress at your pets next visit
  10. Ready for even more tips?
    • Go to FearFreeHappyHomes.com where they have so much more information about keeping your pets happy during their veterinary visits.

Do all of this and you and your pet should have an even better experience the next time you come to see us. Again, any questions or concerns, give us a call at (906)485-6145. We would love to hear from you!