Having to take your pet to an animal hospital is never a pleasant experience, especially when you take into consideration that most pets loathe being at the vet's office. Still, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to seek medical care for your beloved pet, there are some basic etiquette guidelines you'll want to keep in mind during your visit.
Keep Your Pet Crated or on a Leash
Pets should be restrained in some way when brought into the vet's office. For most dogs, this means having them on a short leash (avoid retractable leashes in the waiting room). Cats are typically best kept in a crate. If you have a pet that isn't up-to-date on its vaccinations or that you suspect has a contagious condition, try to crate the animal if possible. If not possible (as may be the case with large dogs), try to keep your dog as far away from others in the waiting room as possible.
Don't Try to Approach Other Pets
Remember that the pets you see in the animal hospital waiting room are likely not feeling their best; on top of being ill or injured, they may also be anxious or stressed out about being in the vet's office to begin with. Therefore, it's important to give pets their space and privacy rather than trying to approach, pet, or handle them in any way.
Warn Others if Your Pet is Easily Agitated
The same goes for your own pet. Ultimately, you know your pet's mannerisms and personality better than anybody. Therefore, if you anticipate that your pet may become aggressive or defensive upon being approached by veterinary staff or others in the office, you should warn them of this ahead of time. This way, they can take extra precautions to make your pet comfortable when handling him or her.
Take a Bathroom Break Before the Visit
Finally, if at all possible, try to have your pet relieve him or herself before coming into the office. For dogs, this may mean taking them for a quick potty break outside the office before coming in. For cats and other animals, try placing them in their litter box before leaving for the animal hospital. This will help to reduce accidents in the waiting room. Of course, if dealing with a true medical emergency, getting to the hospital as soon as possible should be your primary concern.