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Vet-Pet Ettiquette

Dogs on leads, cats in cages, right? I did think this was a well-known thing, but since it doesn’t seem to be, so here’s some highlights.

When you take your animal into the vet clinic, picture an important factor- there’s a reasonable chance said animal is going to be terrified. Although your cat is normally quiet and content to sit in your arms for hours, can you really hold onto it when you’ve walked through the door right into a barking Great Dane? Although your dog’s collar is comfortably loose and works well when your dog is pulling forwards on the lead, does it come straight off when she ducks backwards?

The other major issue is the words that make me grind my teeth every day: ‘don’t worry, my dog is friendly.’ This is usually paired with someone holding the lead right back at the handle as their dog cheerfully approaches every other dog/cat/rabbit/bird/child in the building.

A few points here: Is the other dog friendly? Do you know what happens to wild birds when a large predator approaches them? How do you think cats feel about your friendly dog? And most importantly: it’s a vet clinic. Consider that quite a lot of animals that go there are sick. Then consider how many diseases are transmitted by nose-to-nose contact. (hint: most of them). Now, hold your dog close. Even if her tail is wagging.

A lot of vet clinics are converted houses, and the waiting rooms tend to be small and of awkward shape. So before you walk in there, assume it’s going to be a small room with minimal space. Assume there’s a chance it could contain a combo of things, including an animal that’s afraid of your animal, an animal that wants to attack your animal, an animal that will be scared to death of your animal and, for variety, an animal that will make your animal sick.

So yes, dogs on leads, cats in cages. Hold them close, well restrained, and everyone will have a less stressful day.

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