The Hospital Lobby: Safety and Lobby Etiquette
A veterinary hospital lobby can be a busy, but interesting place. It’s fun to see different pets, talk to owners, and visit with staff. However, the business and rapidly changing environment of the lobby can also be cause for situations that can quickly escalate.
The safety of all our patients is very important to us at Maywood Veterinary Clinic. With that in mind, we’d like to pass along some tips for hospital lobby etiquette and safety. Being prepared for your visit can make it more enjoyable for you, your pet, and others.
Lobby Etiquette and Safety
The hospital lobby is a confined space, and although you’ll likely encounter friendly, healthy pets, remember that some pets who visit us are sick or in pain. Being aware that not all who visit us are enjoying good health can help to alleviate many potential problems.
Cats in carriers – cats are simply not safe outside their carriers in the lobby (or parking lot, for that matter!). Your cat may not enjoy her carrier, but it affords her protection from escape, dogs, and other people and pets she may encounter in our lobby. A hard sided carrier is best, but if you don’t have one, even carrying her in a pillowcase will do.
Dogs on leash – for similar reasons, and for good lobby etiquette, dogs must be restrained on a leash shorter than 6 ft. long. Dogs love to explore, but the lobby is not the place to do it.
Puppy protocol – please don’t allow your puppy or kitten to interact with other pets in the lobby. Puppies and kittens have not been fully vaccinated and may not have immunity to protect them from illness. Carry your puppy while in the parking lot and in the lobby, so they aren’t in contact with where other pets have walked and gone to the bathroom. If you prefer, we can arrange for you and your puppy to wait in the car. Call ahead to make arrangements for this.
Skip the meet and greet – although many of the dogs you meet in the lobby will be friendly, some may not like other dogs, and some may be sick or injured. Dogs who are in pain in particular may be uncharacteristically aggressive, so keep your dog away from meeting and greeting other pets in the lobby.
Be aware – there are quite a few comings and goings in a veterinary hospital, and the atmosphere in the lobby can change quickly. Our staff do their best to keep things in the lobby calm, but it’s a good idea for owners to keep an eye out for situations that may arise as well. To focus best, we suggest turning off your cell phone for the duration of your appointment.
Don’t leave your pet unattended – this one is simple – never leave your pet unattended for any reason. If you need to use the bathroom please take your pet with you.
Consideration for cats – cats can become highly stressed in new environments, and having a dog sniff their carrier can tip them over the edge. We want all our patient exams to go well, so please save the kitties in our lobby some stress and practice good lobby etiquette by keeping your dog away from cat carriers.
A little obedience training can go a long way toward helping your dog understand what’s expected of her, both at home and in the hospital lobby.
We’re Here to Help
If you need special accommodations for your pet’s appointment, or have questions about hospital lobby etiquette, please give our team a call. A few of the accommodations we can make are:
- Making a plan for when you arrive to wait in the car for your appointment and then go directly to an exam room.
- Use of cat and dog pheromones before and during your visit to reduce stress and anxiety
- Desensitization techniques for your pet’s ride in the car
We’re here to help, and are more than happy to talk to you about these ideas and more. With a little planning and knowledge, you can greatly reduce your pet’s stress and the stress of other pets during veterinary visits. We hope to see you soon!