Waiting Room Manners for Pets and Humans

We’ve all been frustrated by someone at the clinic waiting room who allows their pet to annoy others.

Waiting Room Manners for Pets and Humans


  1. A contained cat is a safe cat. A cat in a carrier is less afraid than one held on your shoulder, neck, or head, especially when two mastiffs walk in.
  2. A cat carried into a mixed species practice in your arms is a disaster waiting to happen. 
  3. A cat in a carrier can’t scratch anyone. Some cats are calmer in pillowcases than in carriers, and pillowcases make a great alternative when the carrier is lost somewhere in the garage.
  4. An exception to the “cats can’t scratch when contained” practice involves some cardboard carriers that have round air holes through which a cat can stick out a front leg and whap anything within reach. 
  5. Don’t force your cat to interact with the cat, dog, human, or ferret in the waiting room. 


  1. Leash your dog, but not with a flexi. Our clinic will have one for you if you need it. This rule applies to all dogs, even guide dogs, dogs with obedience titles, puppies, dogs who weigh 2 pounds, the little squirt bouncing around trying to hump knees, and the friendly dog who wants to greet everyone with a slobbery kiss.
  2. Give your dog the chance to relieve herself before coming inside. 
  3. If your dog has an accident in the lobby – nerves can do that to the best of us! – let the front desk know so it can be cleaned up. 
  4. Ask permission before approaching other people’s animals to pet or play.  
  5. Some dogs in the hospital waiting room are ill and pulling a Greta Garbo - they just want to be left alone. Respect that.
  6. Keep your dog away from other dogs, even if he just wants to say hi or grab a quick sniff.
  7. Suggestion 6 applies to puppies in particular. Some adult dogs dislike puppy energy even when they’re feeling well. Plus – and this is a big plus – some puppies haven’t finished their vaccination series and it’s foolish to expose them to unknown illnesses.
  8. If your dog is ill and undiagnosed, assume something could be contagious and stay far away from other dogs until proven otherwise.
  9. If your dog is aggressive or scared, don’t let her near other pets. Also, sit far away from the front desk to alleviate tension.
  10. If some person or pet is bothering your dog, ask them to stop and then get up and move. You are responsible for your dog’s well-being.