A dog sitting on a chair near a door

You may view the veterinary hospital lobby as a place to relax and catch up on emails or reading, but your pet probably has a vastly different experience. The waiting room can be a stressful or even scary place for pets, and situations can escalate quickly in such a fast-paced, overwhelming environment.

At Springbrook Animal Care Center, we want all our patients to feel safe and experience as little stress as possible when they come to visit. With this in mind, The Pet Experts want to share some tips for veterinary hospital lobby etiquette and safety.

Veterinary Hospital Lobby Etiquette

A little preparation goes a long way when it comes to keeping your pet safe and calm during a trip to the vet:

  • Cats in carriers – Your kitty may not love their carrier, but it’s the safest place for them to be in a hospital lobby. Small dogs should also be transported in carriers if it makes them feel safe.
  • Cat Friendly Practice – As a certified Cat Friendly Practice by the American Association of Feline Practioners, we want to ensure that felines waiting in the lobby remain calm and undisturbed before their vet visit. To that end, we have a separate entrance and waiting area that are cat-only to enhance their stay.
  • Dogs on leashes – Dogs love to explore, which is why all dogs should be leashed and by your side at all times. Leashes should not exceed 6 feet in length (and leave the retractable leash at home!).
  • Dog manners – Regardless of how friendly your dog is, don’t allow them to investigate other pets, including those in carriers. This can seriously undermine a contained pet’s sense of safety and security.
  • Paws to yourself – The hospital lobby is a small space that contains other animals who may be in pain or under stress. This isn’t the place for animals to make a new friend. For everyone’s safety, keep all pets away from one another.
  • Staying together – Leaving your pet unattended in the lobby is a big no-no. Bring your pet with you if you have to use the restroom or go to the parking lot.
  • Owner awareness – It can be tempting to spend your time in the waiting room checking your phone or reading a magazine, but we encourage you to remain alert. Although our staff does their best to keep the lobby calm, animals are unpredictable. The more people who are observing the environment, the safer everyone will be.

Before You Leave Home

For many pets, reducing stress can begin before you even leave the house. Having a more relaxed pet can help both of you maintain good veterinary hospital lobby etiquette. Try the following ideas to calm your nervous pet before their appointment:

  • Take steps to desensitize your pet to their carrier and/or the car ahead of time. Give us a call for recommendations on how to do this!
  • Ensuring sure your dog has a good handle on basic obedience commands will not only help keep them under control, it can also be a good way to occupy them during an otherwise stressful time.
  • Make use of calming pheromone sprays, such as Feliway or DAP.
  • Consider dressing your pet in a calming, pressure-based garment, such as the Thundershirt.
  • Have your pet’s favorite treats on hand to use as a distraction.

We’re happy to discuss these ideas and more with you! Please contact us for additional information about veterinary hospital lobby etiquette.