SPECIAL SUMMERTIME TIP! Leave out at least two bowls of water when you go to work. That way, Fluffy or Fido can spill one and still stay hydrated. And, of course, never leave an animal in a hot car, even with windows cracked.

FIDO: Hey, Fluff, you and your mom left early today. Where did you go?

FLUFFY: We went to the veterinarian. Ugh. I hate riding in the car.

FIDO: I love car rides. But I’m not too crazy about going to the vet. How was it?

FLUFFY: Not too bad. But the vet was telling my mom about all the things other pet parents had done to upset their vets.

FIDO: Really? Like what?

FLUFFY: Oh, stuff like… you know what? This is pretty important. Let’s tell Meryl so she can help pet parents understand how to help their vets keep us healthy.

FIDO: Good idea. Let’s go!

…And so they did. Here are a few things that make your vet crazy…and one that does exactly the opposite.

Bringing uncaged cats and off leash dogs into the office.  We know that Fluffy and Fido are the sweetest, most adorable creatures on the planet, but even those wonderful beings can get pretty freaked out when visiting the vet. Many innocent people and animals have been scratched, clawed, bitten, and even knocked over by cats or dogs running amok at the vet. Remember, this is a stressful experience for your animal, and even the most placid pet may exhibit unexpectedly aggressive behaviors in this situation. You can minimize any potential damage by keeping dogs on a short leash, and cats in a sturdy carrier.
Answering your phone.  It’s funny how people seem to forget all the rules of polite society when their cell phones beckon. They text during job interviews, check emails during dinner dates and even answer the phone while at the vet! Your vet is busy, and he or she has lots of other patients waiting. Every time a pet parent answers the phone during their visit, it puts them a little more behind. They will really appreciate it if you will put your phone on silent and wait to return calls until after your visit.

Denying reality.  Vets enjoy interacting with interested pet parents, and are happy to answer all of your questions about their diagnoses. They love to see a pet parent who cares. But pet parents who deny are a different story. These are the ones who say Fluffy’s not fat (when she weighs in at 30 pounds), or Fido’s teeth don’t need cleaning (although even the most ardent dog lover flees the scene when Fido opens his mouth). There are all sorts of reasons that pet parents want to deny a diagnosis: maybe it’s too scary, or they think it reflects poorly on them, or they know they won’t be able to follow through with the care plan. Whatever the reason, getting past the denial is the best thing you can do for your animal. And speaking of care plans…

Ignoring or changing the care plan.  Some people just can’t give pills or injections, clip nails, clean ears or keep up with grooming. There’s no shame in that; we all have different skill sets. But do share that information with your vet so that he or she can work with you on an alternate plan! Vets have a lot of tools in their toolboxes, but they won’t offer them if they think you’re good with the one they’ve already recommended. So as soon as you realize that a particular protocol isn’t going to work for you, give your vet a call and get some guidance.


Refusing to pay.  This happens more often than you would think. Your vet or veterinary assistant should explain everything to you, including fees, before doing any procedure or test, and you will always have the opportunity to refuse the service. But if you accept it, please pay for it! If you have honestly misunderstood something, or feel that it wasn’t communicated clearly, talk it over with your vet. He or she will work with you to come up with a solution that’s fair to both of you.


Bonus Tip! Know what vets and their staffs absolutely love? A pet parent who says “thank you” at the end of the appointment. So the next time you visit, offer a smile and a word of thanks before you leave. It’ll make their day.

We hope you enjoyed these tips, and that you learned something, too! We’d love to hear from you, so please send your ideas to info.santedor@gmail.com.


Meryl Schwarz, M.A., M.Ed., is an animal lover and Certified Professional Coach specializing in grief support for people grieving their beloved animals. Whether you’re grieving a terminal diagnosis, the normal aging process, a disappearance or a death, Meryl offers compassionate and caring support with the wisdom of experience. Visit her website at www.merylschwarz.com to schedule an appointment by Skype or phone.