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5 rules for being the best veterinary client

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan



Treats and cards are always a great way to say thanks to your veterinarian and his or her team, and being a really good veterinary client can go a long way in showing your appreciation, too! This goes beyond just listening to your vet or staying off your cell phone during an appointment. Here are five rules for being the best client – not only will they show your veterinary team your appreciation, they’ll also help the experience can be as seamless as possible for you, your pet and the team.

 

  1. Be honest.
  2. Be nice.
  3. Be on time.
  4. Trust the right people.
  5. Hope for the best (always), but prepare for the worst.

 

Let’s elaborate:

 

Be honest.

Maybe you let vaccines slide, or maybe you didn’t finish Fluffy’s course of antibiotics. Maybe your curious pup got into something he shouldn’t have (be it a legal or illegal substance). You have to tell us – I promise we won’t judge you!

 

Our number one priority is your pet’s health. If you think whatever situation you and your pet are in is too embarrassing to tell your vet, you should know that your vet has heard much, much worse. That’s a guarantee! Being honest with us leads to quicker diagnosis, which means treatment can start earlier, which means a better chance at your pet being OK.

 

Be nice.

Be nice to your pet, be nice to your veterinarian and please, be nice to her staff. They are really the ones who run the show, and when they are disrespected, we all feel it!

 

Sure, we see a lot of adorable puppies and kittens and tons of happy, healthy pets, but we also see some of the worst that humanity has to offer. So often, people are not nice to their pets, and we carry that burden when we try to help them.

 

Keep in mind that when we see you and your pet in the exam room, it’s possible that in the appointment just prior to yours, we all had to say goodbye to a beloved friend. We are lucky in this profession to be able to humanely euthanize when the time is right, but darn if it doesn’t take a toll on our hearts.





Be on time.

My dad always says, “If you can’t be on time, be early!” When you’re late for your appointment, it can throw off the rest of our day. It can push us behind on the next appointment, which isn’t fair to other clients who showed up on time to theirs.

 

Trust the right people.

I know you want to Google your cat’s symptoms – and that’s OK! But please don’t trust Dr. Google (or any stranger who chimes in with a “diagnosis”) more than you trust your veterinarian. Your vet loves your pet more than anyone on the planet (other than you and your family, of course!), and is most familiar with your pet’s health and history. Trust her with your pet’s health, not a stranger.

 

Hope for the best (always), but prepare for the worst.

I’m an eternal optimist. In the world of veterinary medicine, I always believe that anything can happen (in a good way). I’ve seen many, many pets recover from the brink of death, some inexplicably! I will always hope for the best—in medicine, and in people.

 

But I also know that being prepared for the worst is necessary. Here’s where money comes in. Having a pet is expensive. Veterinary care is expensive. Without pet health insurance, you can easily spend thousands and thousands of dollars on your pet during an emergency situation. Please prepare for this. As much as your pet’s health is our number one priority, and as much as we wish we could, we just can’t lend you money for your pet’s treatment.

 

These five simple rules will help you be the best client you can be, and that is all the appreciation your veterinarian really needs (although a “thank you” every now and again is nice, too!).

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