Waiting room etiquette is an important thing to consider when you’re at the vet. After working for years in the field of veterinary medicine, I noticed something about people. They think it’s cute that their dogs are not well-behaved at the vet. I’m not criticizing. I actually understand it. What could be cuter than a bunch of fuzzy, adorable dogs and cats meandering around and greeting each other? The problem is that not all animals are friendly in the waiting room.
Related: Helping a Dog that is Afraid of Going to the Vet
Waiting Room Etiquette is Important
I’ll admit it. When I worked at the vet, I had to restrain myself from promoting misbehavior in the waiting room of our office. I just love the puppies and kitties so much! The thing is, when the lobby gets out of control, bad things can happen – both to animals and people. It’s important to remember that not all dogs and cats are as friendly as yours. So let’s look at why maintaining control of your pooch in the lobby is so important.
With diseases like kennel cough, canine flu, and other contact-to-contact diseases, that cute nose-rubbing and face-licking between strange dogs could be a health risk waiting to happen. If a dog comes into the facility with kennel cough and noses up to all of the other dogs, all of those dogs are at risk for contracting it.
When I worked at the vet, we had an absolutely massive English Mastiff named Andre who loved everyone and every animal. The problem with Andre was that he was a 220 pound behemoth who wanted to wrestle with chihuahuas. That is a disaster waiting to happen. All it would take is one misplaced paw, and that chihuahua could be permanently crippled.
There’s also the possibility of injury to people caused by having to either break up a fight or an overly exuberant dog who isn’t handled properly. There was a Pitbull named Ratty who always busted my lip when saw me. He loved me, and he showed his love by giving me a “love bite” ON. MY. FACE. I never complained because I knew he was just playing, but if he’d done it wrong or too hard, I could have lost my lip!
Another important thing to remember about keeping control of your animals in the waiting room is liability. If something goes wrong, and a fight breaks out between your dog and another or if your dog seriously injures a person, that dog could potentially be put down. At the very least, you could be looking at an expensive rabies observation stay for your dog.
Waiting Room Etiquette Protects Both Your Pet and Other Pets
It may be tempting to let your dog have a meet and greet with the other dogs in the waiting room, but I would advise against it. 9 times out of 10, everything will be fine, but I have personally witnessed the 10th time, and believe me, you don’t want that.
We had an extremely contrary client who refused to keep her absolutely massive Rottweiler under control, and although he was friendly he got into a particularly nasty fight with a Pitbull. Interestingly enough, the Pitbull was also normally good with other dogs. I had to stick my hands into a battle between two massive dogs to pull them off of each other. Luckily, my hands were fairly unscathed, and the fight only resulted in a few stitches for the Pit. It could have been so much worse.
So remember. When you’re in the waiting room, practice common sense to protect yourself, your dog, and the people and dogs around you. Keep your dog on a short leash. Don’t allow him to approach other dogs, and don’t allow other dogs to approach him. Waiting room etiquette is key to dog and human safety.