7 Things You Shouldn’t Say At The Veterinarian’s Office

Dr. Dolittle
Dr. Dolittle

1. “Is this treatment really necessary?”

No. We recommended it just for our own amusement. OF COURSE IT’S NECESSARY. If the vet is telling you about a treatment for your animal, it’s because she believes that it will help your animal! If there was something that was “extra,” a good vet will let you know that it is less important and more optional. Instead of questioning the treatments, politely explaining that money is tight and asking the vet if there are any treatments that could be foregone is a much better way to go. Pet insurance and delayed payments are usually available. The vet is there to help you and your animal both. They don’t want to see you turn away and let your animal suffer from an ailment because of finances. In other words, they’ll work WITH you, not against you.

2. “I went to this other vet and they were terrible.”

This just makes the nurses and the vet you’re now talking to feel uneasy. They’ll wonder, if this client thinks that vet clinic was bad, maybe they think they’re all bad. It also sends a vibe that you might be overly tight with money, if that’s the chief complaint about the other vet clinic. This makes everyone bite their nails a bit if they have to share bad news with you. Overall, it just makes everyone uncomfortable. It’s certainly okay to get a second opinion, but save the gossip for Yelp.

3. “I read online that this treatment is best.”

There’s a response to this on a mug actually. “Do not mistake your Google search for my medical degree.” So you gave your dog charcoal after he swallowed a poison because the internet told you to. Nice going. Now your vet has even more work cut out for her. Self-diagnosing your pet is dangerous. The best thing to do is to bring your animal to a vet immediately when something is wrong. Of course it’s alright if you have a question about something you read online, but that’s what it is, a question, not a declaration that you must know better. Remember that, and your veterinarian will be pleased to see you the next time.

4. “Hold on, I’m on the phone.”

The nurses and veterinarians don’t have all day. The text you got from your boyfriend can wait five minutes. It really can. When the nurse is trying to ask you questions about your animal, they need to get those answers, not hear all about what you want for dinner tonight. If they don’t get the information they need, the veterinarians they go and brief about your appointment are going to wonder why they didn’t get it, and they’re going to need to ask again. Be courteous and give the staff your full attention. Their job performance is on the line, as well as your beloved animal’s health!

5. Don’t reprimand your animal.

Believe it or not, you screaming “Stop it! Bad dog!” is way more annoying than anything your animal could possibly be doing. It’s distracting to everyone involved, and it’s not making your animal behave any better for the exam. You’re probably making your pet scared or frustrated. This is a huge reason why most veterinarians bring your pet to the scary “back room” in the first place, because very commonly, your pet will actually behave much better when they aren’t responding to YOUR behavior. (Also, all the cool equipment is back there.)

6. “I’m on a tight schedule. Can we speed this up?”

If you knew you didn’t have time to bring your animal to the vet, pick a better day, or drop your animal off and come back. Don’t attempt to rush the veterinary staff to make the appointment “fit” into your busy schedule. It’s kind of the same concept as not rushing a surgeon or a cook. You wouldn’t want any mistakes with something so important. It’s going to be a toss-up as to what your pet will need done depending on his condition. If he needs medication for you to take home, that means the vet has to decide which medication is best and how much for how long, and the staff has to count out the medication (which is not as quick when it’s liquid or powder versus pills). Still, when was the last time you counted 245 pills in a couple seconds? You wouldn’t want them to get it wrong; that could mean, at best, you being angry that it wasn’t correct and having to come back, and at worst, under-medicating or overdosing your animal. That’s just one example of a treatment that might be necessary. There could be lots more. Your animal doesn’t want to be rushed either. Imagine, when you were a little kid, if a nurse just gave you a shot without some reassuring words first or a Band-Aid after? Most animals are at least a little fearful at the vet clinic; it takes time to reassure them so that they have a better experience, and so that they don’t mess up the treatment by jolting, squirming, or acting aggressively!

7. “I know this because I’m a doctor/nurse.”

So you work in human medicine. Wonderful. Sure there are lots of similarities between human and animal medicine. There are also a lot of differences. So many differences, actually, that they are in fact, two separate fields with separate doctorates and everything. Picture it this way, you’re at work at your human doctor clinic, and someone comes in and says I know I have such and such condition because I’m a veterinarian. How would you feel about that? TC mark

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