The do’s and don’ts of taking your pet to the vet during coronavirus

The do’s and don’ts of taking your pet to the vet during coronavirus

How to safely take your dog or cat to the vet during the COVID-19 pandemic

July 15, 2020

Over the past few months, veterinary clinics have adapted to a new normal, finding new and improved ways to provide the highest standards of care to pets while limiting physical contact and making appointments safe for both visitors and staff.

As an essential service provider, many vets continued to operate during the pandemic, though at a reduced capacity, while many pet owners chose to stay home and cancel or postpone anything other than urgent care visits.

Now, as restrictions begin to lift — depending on the part of the country you’re in — vets are seeing an increase in demand, making it all the more important for pet owners to know the do’s and don’ts of vet visits.

“Preventive care is especially pertinent this time of year as things like ticks, fleas, and heartworm are more likely as the weather gets warmer,” says Royal Canin veterinarian Dr. Allan Corber

With over 25 years of veterinary experience, specializing in general canine and feline practice, Royal Canin veterinary expert, Dr. Allan Corber, joined the scientific communications team at Royal Canin in 2018. He focuses on shelters, breeders, and getting kittens and puppies off to a healthy start. Dr. Allan is also an expert on how nutrition plays a critical role within each of these areas.

He recommends that if a visit is overdue, owners get in touch with their vet as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to prevent further delays caused by the backlog. As always, owners should focus on keeping pets healthy and fit in between vet visits. Ensuring they have enough exercise, keeping them at a healthy weight, and feeding them a nutritious and balanced diet are all important.

Vaccinating your pets, and keeping them free of parasites, is also crucial — especially during the summer months.

“Preventive care is especially pertinent this time of year as things like ticks, fleas, and heart-worm are more likely as the weather gets warmer,” Dr. Allan explained.

“With the increased demand in both emergency care and rebooking of postponed appointments, there may be delays. If you’re not getting through to your clinic, follow up but be patient. The toll of the pandemic has been heavy on everyone, including veterinary staff, so be kind, open-minded and understanding towards them.”

Once you’ve managed to secure an appointment, research the policies your local clinic has in place. Clinics, like many other businesses, have evolved their practices to ensure your own safety, as well as the health and safety of your pet and the clinic staff. Many vets have moved toward triaging by phone, in order to limit physical contact.

“Pet owners may be asked to wait outside the clinic, at a safe distance, instead of being offered a waiting area inside and may also be required to stay outside for the entire length of the appointment, so they should bring a charged cellphone to receive updates,” recommended Dr. Allan.

Questions veterinary staff would otherwise ask in person are now being asked by phone, or virtually, to make the appointments as efficient as possible and to ensure that pets in greater need of medical care are prioritized.

In addition to these precautionary measures, and increased hygiene, vet clinic visitors may also be required to wear personal protective equipment such as gloves and/or masks during their visit.

While vet appointments may look different than they used to, it’s important that pet owners continue to be proactive with their dog’s and cat’s health and schedule regular checkups — especially if they missed a regular visit, dental exam or vaccine during the crisis.

Pet owners should also ensure that their furry companions are still receiving their nutritional prescriptions, which can usually be renewed online.

“Most clinics are offering increased ability to renew prescriptions for medication and nutrition over the phone or online through the clinics’ online store,” said Dr. Allan. “This varies from province to province and from clinic to clinic, so pet owners should check with their own vet clinic to ensure this option is available.”

With many veterinary clinics experiencing an increased demand for care, updating their website or social media with the latest health and safety measures, and information, might not always be their top priority. That’s why it’s advisable that pet owners proactively contact their clinic and ask about their policies prior to visiting, to ensure their appointment is a success and as low-stress as possible for both them and their pets.

For more information on the questions you should ask your vet prior to visiting, check out Dr. Allan on YouTube. For other information, visit

In collaboration with Royal Canin


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