Tips for Your Veterinary Clinic Visit
How many of us like waiting around in our doctor’s office? Not many of us I can imagine… Now what about the length of time you spend in the veterinary clinic? Honestly, I have always found veterinary clinics to be more personable than most human doctor offices or hospitals so maybe your time in a vet clinic isn’t as bothersome. On the other side of the coin though, we don’t like running behind and we want to give you the best service possible to keep your pets happy & healthy. So I’ve got some tips, or maybe they can be seen as unwritten rules, to make you & your pets’ visit safer and more efficient. Not only that, it will make your fellow pet owners and the veterinary staff happier.
Cats should be brought in carriers and dogs kept on leashes – This is for their safety and yours. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen one pet get too close to another and a bite or scratch ensues. Additionally, I’ve known a few clients who either got caught in the middle of the scrum or were clawed by their cat they were holding as it became frightened from all the noise.
Cleaning your pets’ ears before the appointment you made for us to check their ears – We certainly do appreciate you looking after your pets’ health. However, if the problem you’re bringing them in for is related to the ears, we really do need to see what’s going on in there. Oftentimes, it can be easier to make the diagnosis by looking or smelling the ear. Words can’t describe the awesomeness in seeing those ear mites crawling around in the ear and knowing that I can help that patient definitively!
Know what food you are feeding your cat or dog – When I ask what food your pet is eating, I get an “I don’t know” answer probably about 60% of the time. Sometimes I get told “my wife buys it” or “we feed him from the blue bag.” It’s important for us to know what your pet is eating especially if we are discussing a pet that is over or under weight. Many weight problems can be helped by feeding the proper diet. By knowing what they are eating, we can help ensure your pet is eating properly. Tip: Bringing the empty bag is best but a picture of the front will do.
When you have an appointment for 1 pet, but bring in an extra pet for us to look at – We understand that your time is precious and that you enjoy the convenience of squeezing in multiple vet visits in one trip. And we have no issue with Sparky coming along to keep Rover company. But when an innocent question such as, “by the way, Sparky also is scratching at his ears, could you have a look?” is asked, it sets us further behind which isn’t fair to the next patient and their family. Most of the time we will graciously consent because we take pride in our profession and the service we offer but it really does throw a monkey wrench in our schedule. So if both pets need to come in, ask us on the phone if we have time for them both.
Giving your dog a bath right before the appointment – Don’t get me wrong; we love clean dogs and knowing that they are well cared for. However, when a wet dog comes in for an exam, it can create a few problems. First, any water they drip or shake can make for a slippery floor. Secondly, as we are palpating a wet pet fur can get clumped which may obscure small skin masses and as we remove our hands we are more likely to look like the Wolfman rather than a veterinarian. And of course, happy wet retrievers just love to snuggle us which then makes us look like we’ve wet ourselves. So let’s hold off on the baths until after the exam, we won’t pass judgement if they are a little dirty – dogs will be dogs!
Well, I hope these few tips will help your visit to your veterinarian run more smoothly and efficiently. If anything, these small little things will often go a long way towards making your relationship with your veterinarian better. I’ll be revisiting this topic (update: Part 2 here!) as several of my colleagues have offered further suggestions so this is just part one for now. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and thanks for reading & sharing!
Disclaimer: All blog posts are personally written and my opinion and do not reflect those of current or former employers.
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