Vetiquette 101: What your vet would like you to know

Visits to the vet can be traumatising, but they do not have to be if you go prepared.

Vetiquette, Veterinarian, Tips when visiting the vet, vet visit, visit the vet, annual check up

Pet ownership comes with all the responsibilities, including having to take our beloved furries to the doctor. Your vet sees hundreds of people and their pets every month.  Most of the pet owners are anxious about their pets' health, and the vet does not only have one patient to deal with but two.  It is for this purpose that we spoke to a few veterinarians and asked them what they hoped their clients would know when visiting their hospitals and clinics.

Vetiquette, Veterinarian, Tips when visiting the vet, vet visit, visit the vet, annual check up

Before The Time

Make an appointment

It is not always possible to plan ahead, but if you can, it is best to make an appointment. Your vet loves to be prepared for both you and their patient. 

My Nervous Pet

Nervous pets should be scheduled for a vet visit in off-peak periods. Find out from your vet when is the best time to bring your pet. Weekdays after 4 pm and Saturday mornings are generally the busiest times.

If your dog is super strong, aggressive, or fearful and you really cannot take them into the consulting room, you might want to ask your vet if a private space outside would be more suitable for a ‘special’ consultation.

Be on Time

Most vet surgeries are scheduled for the day and are not always available at any given time, however, take note that emergencies take preference over appointments.  

Some animals need more attention than anticipated, therefore being on time, will help your vet not have to run short of time in their busy schedule.

On Your Way To The Vet

One Animal per Appointment

Speak to your vet before you decide to bring along more than one pet for them to allocate enough time for the consultation. A consultation fee per animal will be charged.

Contact your vet ahead of the time to announce your arrival, be that scheduled or not, especially during an emergency.

No Children Policy

There is no written rule about this, but the veterinarian would love to give your pet their utmost best attention. Often clients bring their children along, and this can be disruptive or often dangerous while waiting in the waiting area.  

If you need someone's help, it is understandable, but children and friends clutter up the already busy reception. We understand that it is not always possible to leave your child behind, but if it is possible, please do so.

Inside the Vet Clinic

In the Waiting Area

  • Do not touch other (sick) animals. Remember that this is a place where diseases can spread even if your vet has taken all steps necessary to not allow this to happen.
  • Aggressive dogs or cats can be announced at the reception, you could wait with them in the car and you will be called when it is your turn. 
  • Note:  If it is a hot day never leave an animal in a hot car. Yes, sadly we have to say this over and over again because some people do not know how dangerous this is for their animals.
  • Remain calm and show your pets that you are in control of them and their well-being. 

What can I bring with me?

  • Treats always work wonders. Every time your pet behaves well, give them a small treat to keep them busy and distracted.
  • The Medical History Card is important, especially if you visit a different veterinary practice from the previous time.
  • Your Pet Insurance Claim form.

Vetiquette, Veterinarian, Tips when visiting the vet, vet visit, visit the vet, annual check up

Inside the Doctor’s Room

When the time comes for your pet to be seen by the vet, the following tips will make the experience easier for all:

  • Answer all the questions as accurately as possible.
  • Switch your phone off.
  • Provide photographs of ‘evidence’ or patient history, eg, of growing lumps or maybe hair loss, etc.
  • The vet will appreciate your help if you offer to hold your pet or keep them calm during the examination.
  • When the vet is working with a stethoscope, try to be quiet.

Time to Go

After the consultation, it is best to take your pet back to the car and secure them while you have to stand at the reception to manage the paperwork and wait while the vet staff prepares your dog or cat's script. You could also ask a vet assistant to help handle your pet if the car is not an option.

Ask your vet to sign your pet Insurance claim form

  • All pet insurance medical claims need to be signed off by the vet and this will help you to get the claim settled sooner rather than later.  
  • Most pet insurance companies require non-emergency procedures to be pre-authorised before they agree to settle a claim.
  • Be sure to claim within at least two months or your claim might be rejected because you waited too long to claim.

Offer to clean up after your pet, or in the least notify the vet staff if your pet did relieve themselves inside the waiting or consulting room.

Vetiquette, Veterinarian, Tips when visiting the vet, vet visit, visit the vet, annual check up


Should you feel the need to have someone with you to help you or console you, please do let them join you during your visit to the vet. However, when it is just an annual visit to the vet, it might be best to reduce the crowded waiting room and opt to rather leave the family and or friends behind. Keep your pets under control at all times. Be kind to your vet, because we have no inkling what they observe and have to deal with every day of their lives.

Going to the vet does not have to be a stressful experience for us and our animals, so taking note of these tips should help to make this a pleasant visit for you and your pet every time.

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