Actually, many people in the pet biz might want to say similar things, but having spoken to 31 vets over the last 5 months about exactly this subject, here are their most common comments. The first seems so self evident that I was shocked to hear it over and over again.
1. You may not be able to smell your dog, but others can. Unless the animal is too sick, please bathe the dog before bringing him/her to see me. It’s no different from washing before seeing your doctor, or brushing your teeth before seeing the dentist.
2. Bring a list of presenting complaints, current medications, supplements and your questions to the vet visit. You may forget what you meant to ask if you feel overwhelmed by information just presented to you, or even during a conversation about a new symptom. We can work together more efficiently if you prepare for the appointment ahead of time.
3. Please be on time. I may be running late and I understand how frustrating that can be for you, but vets have emergencies to deal with fairly often. Just 10 minutes before you walked in, someone may have brought in an animal that had been hit by a car, or is in the midst of having a grand mal seizure, not to mention any other number of emergencies. Being on time for your appointment means you’ll get into the exam room faster, but it’s also helpful in getting my schedule back on track faster, and I’d very much appreciate that as would other clients.
4. Please be polite to my office staff. They are an integral part of the veterinary practice and handle many, difficult scenarios (and clients!) all day long. Being nice to them will make me respect you even more than I already do.
5. When the time comes, we should talk about your next pet. It’s not that I think I know better than you do. It’s that I know more about the expenses that you can know right now. Buying your dog from a breeder doesn’t mean that dog will be healthy, and animals in shelters should go to good homes, not just a good-enough-home. They need more than that. They deserve more too. For instance, a diabetic dog needs someone who cares about him, but also someone who can afford to pay for the medical care itself. Veterinary medical costs are a reality. Ask me about them.
6. Reorder medications on time. The clinic may be out of a certain med, or unable to fill your order right away. Keep track of your dog’s meds and call us several days in advance of needing a refill.
7. Give your dog medication in the way it was prescribed. Follow directives exactly. We can discuss any concerns you may have, and I certainly want to know if your dog has an adverse reaction to a medication, but otherwise, don’t cut back on the dose, or stop the medication just because symptoms have subsided.
8. The internet can provide valuable as well as completely false information. If you’re going to tell me about something you read on the internet, please provide the url and let’s hope there’s some science to look at rather than a commercial site or one that provides opinions only.
…so say the vets I spoke with, and frankly their wish-list continues to be pretty much the same now as well. Clients with basic manners, open discussions, dogs that don’t smell awful, think and discuss before getting a pet…it seems so basic that I bet you’re wondering who the heck wouldn’t do these things. Well, vets wonder too.