Vet Visits

I was going to post something else today, but was so annoyed livid on Tuesday evening (and most of the day Wednesday!) I decided to write and post this instead.

So Inka and I were sat in the reception/waiting area of our vets before our follow-up appointment about his haematomas.  Inka was stressing a little, so I was doing what I could to help him keep calm, including asking him to do some of the tricks he knows, the Look at That! protocol from Control Unleashed, and a little bit of Pattern Games too, as well as calmly petting him.

The waiting area isn’t very big, so I try to keep us within a small area, though this can be difficult at times, so sometimes I’ll ask Inka to hop up on a chair so he’s off the floor and out of the way; if the practise is very busy, I’ve been known to sit him on my lap, usually for his own sake, but sometimes for mine too.

Inka chilling out after being at the vets

You see, what a lot of people don’t seem to realise is that any of the other animals at the vets could be in a lot of pain, and an animal in pain doesn’t want some stranger’s sweaty hand all over him, nor does he want another dog right in his face.

It’s not as bad for small furries, and even small dogs because they’re usually in carriers or can be easily picked up. But bigger dogs, like Inka, are too big to put in a carrier, and too gangly, heavy and/or too unwieldy to pick up.  Or all three in Inka’s case.

That means that when someone walks in and has little to no control of their dog, he or she is almost immediately bouncing on the other dog’s heads, without even a basic show of politeness from the owner to ask if your dog is friendly.  Not forgetting, of course, the plethora of people who start petting and/or talking to your dog without first stopping to consider that even if your dog isn’t in pain, he’s likely to be quite stressed out just by virtue of being at the vets.

All in all, other people often do not make vet visits easy.  This is not helped by the fact that when you ask someone to remove their dog from your dog’s face, or their hand from his person they often don’t.

At all.

Some might ask why (and then ignore your response as well as the original request), some might say “oh, but he likes it” (I’m sorry, can really you not see the huge stress signals he’s telegraphing to you about how uncomfortable he is right now??!), or as the dog owner we contended with on Tuesday evening, they might smile gormlessly at you, while still allowing their dog to harass your, as you tell them your dog’s in pain and is likely to snap – complete with a lack of basic control of their dog and obliviousness while they speak to the receptionist/nurse (yes, the dog was on a flexi lead – thank goodness it didn’t also have a choke chain on!)

Meanwhile, as a responsible owner I’m left trying to separate their dog from Inka, and ensure enough distance is kept that the other dog isn’t pulled back to jump on his head, while the owner continues to discuss politics with fairies, or whatever it is that’s currently occupying their mind and obviously so much more important than their dog and his or her well being.

I’m generally not a nasty person, but between this dog owner as we waited to see the vet, the lady who was very intent on petting Inka as I tried to keep my very obviously stressed dog calm and pay the bill, and the woman with a staffy on a choke chain who moved to sit two feet away from us, and proceeded to strangle the poor dog rather than help keep him out of the way and keep his stress levels down (plus I’m sure she hit the poor dog, though as we’d just left I didn’t actually see it, but it sounded like it) I was ready to hit someone…well, maybe not, but I wanted to at least give them all a good talking to about appropriate human behaviour and their lack of it in that setting.

It’s very simple, all you need to remember is: when at the vets, don’t pet.  Not at all, even a tiny bit on the sly, and certainly do not allow your dog into the face or space of any other dog or human.  Also, it should go without saying (but I have seen it happen, on purpose, recently) keep hold of your dogs lead!  Even if he is “friendly” and “just wants to see” someone else in the waiting room, do not, ever, ever, ever let go of that lead – he may just want to say hi, but he may also be so stressed out of his head that he completely freaks out and bites the person instead, and while there are a lot of dog owners that would recognise the difference, I’ve seen many more that wouldn’t.

Thankfully, Inka’s preferred method of dealing with stressful situations shit clueless humans try to put him through is to flee, and even when he couldn’t really flee as he was on lead and in a small area, I would put money on the fact that he wouldn’t bite, unless he was seriously provoked – which, of course, I wouldn’t let happen.  He might threaten it, and on Tuesday, I wouldn’t have blamed him one bit.  And I probably wouldn’t have held back if someone had made a comment about him being aggressive, but I managed the situation so that nothing too bad happened, and then after we got home, Inka got to play in the sudden downpour of rain.  I still felt bad for what he’d been through though.

As for Inka’s ears, we’re to finish all of his pills, cream, and drops and see how he is from there.


23 thoughts on “Vet Visits

    • I was thinking about teaching that the other day, not for this particular reason – and I can’t remember the reason now – but I was thinking it could be very useful.

  1. You are obviously in-tune with your dog and care for him greatly. Good advice about the petting. I do have a suggestion that may be helpful….look for another vet unless you are just in love with this one. I was taking my big (over 100 lb) Golden Retriever to a vet whose office was small and who booked many dogs at the same time. Finally, it was so difficult that I looked for another vet in the same area. What a difference! They expect that if you had an appointment at 9:00, you will be in at least by 9:10. If any longer, they come out and tell you the emergency that is delaying them (this is the vet). The room is large enough and I have never been there when there was more than 3 dogs in the waiting room, but the also have three vets on duty. It may help you with less stress…and your Inka. Blessings.

    • It would be wonderful if it were that easy 🙂 Our other local vet has a similar sized waiting room, and is attached to a pet shop. There’s a vet in the next town over which I could check out, but then there’s time pressure in getting home from work and getting there on time – the joys of car sharing and traffic!

  2. I’ve certainly had this experience and I have also been in a waiting room with my cats in a large carrier and multiple dog owners allowed their dogs to walk right up and shove their faces in the screen. Genius. Luckily my cats are dog-savvy, so that was the least of their worries at the vet.

    It’s strange. It never would have occurred to me to try and pet someone’s dog at the vet or to let my dog interact with them. You have no idea why that animal is there and there are myriad reasons that could result in extreme stress for both the animal and its guardian. I have been to the vet many times dealing with a terminal illness or old age or pending surgery. You also don’t know if the animal is there to be treated for something that could be contagious or maybe they don’t have their vaccinations. It’s amazing how foolish some pet owners can be, whatever their good intentions. I’m sorry both you and Inka had to go through that – I’m sure you could have done without the extra stress added to an already stressful visit.

    • Tell me about it! A friend recently told me that she tells other dog owners her nervous dog has kennel cough – I liked that idea, but it would only work if the other owner knew a little bit about it – as I have direct access to the brain of someone who has “owned a dog all their life”, I know that it wouldn’t work so well for me, even at the vets 😦

      I’m now trying to come up with a “polite” phrase to have put on a hi-vis jacket, given that “do not distract, dog in training”, and “give me space” tend not to work, but so far my only next choice isn’t the sort of thing parents would want their young kids reading lol perhaps “do not touch” in big letters might work…

  3. I don’t bring my dog in until we are ready to be seen – even my super-friendly one who is just there for a checkup, grooming, or whatever. I check in first and let them know I’m outside. If it’s not hot, I might wait inside but if it is, I’ll hang out with him in the parking lot or just in the car. Waiting can be stressful in itself and I don’t need that stress added to the vet visit =)

    • I would love to be able to do that, sadly the main practise we use is on a residential street, and the tiny “car park” is only for staff. Getting parked close enough to not make it a hassle to walk up, register, and then walk down and back up when it’s your turn is…interesting. Plus you’d also have most of the other clients as well as miscellaneous other dogs and people walking past the car.

  4. When I take any of mine to the vet I go in first and ask to be put in a room right away and if they don’t have one open I will stay outside until they do. My vet also has a small waiting room and one of mine can be dog reactive so I don’t take any chances on the safety if my dog or another dog whose owner is oblivious as to what is going on. Since I began doing this it has greatly reduced my dogs stress and my stress at the vet.

  5. As a vet tech, I do get upset at how people act at a clinic. It’s stupid. Even the pediatrician’s waiting room is less stressful, because people mostly keep their children close to them. But somehow it’s OK for one dog to go harass another, and it’s “cute”? In fact, I’ve recently decided to become the resident hardass–I will MAKE people lock their Flexis, separate their dogs, NO NOSE-TO-NOSE ‘GREETINGS’ and respect the space of that poor stressed-out kitty who doesn’t need a leering face in the door of its carrier. Will I make people mad? Sure. But it’s what they need to hear. I’ve had enough.

    I don’t care WHAT the dog is wearing as long as it’s under control. Don’t get me started on all the dogs strangling themselves on buckle collars on the end of Flexis. Anytime we go anywhere, my dog sits calmly on her training collar. If a dog can sit and mind its own business, that’s a win in my book, regardless of what’s around its neck or on its face.

    • I would love to have a “hardass” at my vets lol Somebody needs to know, and it can’t be assumed that dog owners know, so they need told/shown/taught until they do it themselves.

      • Be your own hardass 🙂 I finally decided that when a polite request is ignored by the oblivious, whether at the vet, the dog park, or on the street adding a little snarl to my tone when I make my second request works wonders. Do they get indignant and huffy at times-sure, but that really isn’t my concern. I don’t need to be liked by idiots, I need to do what’s best for my dogs. If they decide I am an unbalanced crazy dog lady, all the better, they will probably avoid me in the future 🙂

        • I do tend to be, but I just couldn’t believe how totally ignorant – of me, his dog, my dog, the situation, the location – this guy was, I was dumbfounded 😦

  6. I often will leave my dog in the car until the vet is actually ready for us to go in. Not that you should have to do such things to prevent stupid people, but it works for me.

    • Sometimes I think it would be nice if our vets had a real car park, rather than just parking on-street, but even with parking on the street you still get people talking to or trying to pet your dog.

  7. I was waiting for emergency treatment for my rabbit who had a broken leg when a woman insisted that her [huge-to-my-rabbit] dog be allowed to “meet” it. I was sure my bunny would be even more terrified with a predator drooling over it. I blew up, shouting that she get her insensitive and intrusive self away from my rabbit and me. Got all kinds of dirty looks, but I was too stressed to care.

    • As someone who has previously owned rabbits, I don’t blame you at all for your response. I hope your bunny was OK, both from the broken leg and from the “friendly” dog.

      • Yes, my rabbit recovered, but that experience still causes me to “flame” when I think of it even though it was years ago. I try to be pleasant with people and politely explain my position, but this was so inconsiderate and unthinking that I lost control. Still, I have no regrets about going off on her.

  8. Here is the magic word that should let your pet be free of interference: Mange. The advantage of mange is that it is contagious for both people and animals.
    I have used earmite as defense word for my shaking with fear under my seat spaniel when someone would let there dog greet mine….

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