Waiting Room Etiquette

Here are some simple tips to make everyone’s wait a little less stressful.

For most cats leaving the house for any reason is a very stressful event, especially going to the Veterinary clinic. There are so many new sights, sounds and smells that they do not experience from the comfort of their own home. When cats are scared or upset, they prefer a safe place to hide which is why bringing them in a proper cat carrier is the safest place for them. This keeps them safe not only while in the clinic but also while driving. Cats exploring the car while you drive can be very dangerous especially if they crawl behind your brake! The walk from the car to the clinic can also be stressful for cats as large vehicles may be driving by the busy road.

You wouldn’t want Fluffy to be frightened by a large truck or a big barking dog and jump out of your arms into the street. Even if you have a very adventurous cat who is good in the car you never know who you might run into on the walk into the clinic or while sitting in the waiting room. Dogs always like to run over and introduce themselves and this can be quite terrifying for any cat. You should also never open your cat’s carrier while sitting in the waiting room to let them roam about. Once your cat is in the exam room with the doors closed then you can let them out to explore the room and relax.

Small dogs who are nervous can also arrive to the clinic in a carrier. If your dog is not in a carrier then they should always be on a leash and you should always have hold of the leash. You would be surprised how many people let go of the leash and let their dog roam about while they are sitting in the waiting area. Your dog may be very well behaved off leash but if something sparks their interest and they go running to the back room they may come face to face with other dog who may be aggressive. An aggressive dog may also enter the clinic while you are waiting up front. If everyone has their pets on leashes and in control unfortunate incidents should not occur. If your dog does want to say hi to another dog waiting up front always ask the owner before letting them meet. You can’t always tell if an animal is aggressive or has something contagious just by looking at them.

We also recommend that children are kept from running around the clinic and into the back rooms as there can be fractious cats and aggressive dogs in the back having an exam. Someone coming into the back unexpectedly can frighten and stress these animals even more. Their first reaction is to get away from the people restraining them and if they are successful they might run straight for the child who has unexpectedly come in the back. If your children do come with you to the appointment just ask the girls up front for some colouring sheets and crayons. We were all kids once and we know how difficult waiting can be.

We also encourage everyone to be respectful of those around them. Some people may be here with a very sick animal or for a euthanasia. Asking them questions or pointing out their animal’s illness could be very upsetting to them. If someone else waiting doesn’t seem keen on chatting, be respectful and allow them to sit and wait quietly.

If you are going to be late or unable to make it to your appointment please call. We understand that life happens. We would much rather know that you are running a few minutes behind or not coming at all. No one likes to be stood up!

If you do have a scared or highly contagious animal or your appointment is about an upsetting issue, you can always call us from your car when you arrive. Just let us know that you are here and that you would prefer to wait in the car until the exam room has become available. We can then call you back on your cell phone to let you know that you can proceed right in when the time is right. And of course if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Written by Nicki Payne, RAHT