Basic Pet Gear Dos and Don’ts for Your Next Vet Visit

Cat collar
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Want to be one of those Class A clients who never fails to bring a smile to your veterinarian’s lips? Me, too. (Sure, I’m a veterinarian, but that doesn’t mean my pets don’t have their own veterinarians, too — specialists, mostly.)

To help get me there with a minimum of energy (I don’t always have time to bake a batch of my famous peppermint brownies), I can usually count on my waiting room behavior to recommend me. And most of that can be chalked up to the tools I use to keep my pets well controlled — that, and a smidge of common sense, too.

Leashes

Don't… use retractable leashes.

This product is on most every veterinarian’s short list of abhorred items for the following reasons:

  • Most people don’t know how to use one properly, a fact that leads to an effectively uncontrolled dog.
  • Many are cheaply made, so the lock doesn’t stick and the result is an unpredictable leash length.
  • Some owners don’t understand the risks of an extra-long leash in confined spaces.
  • Most of us have witnessed toppled owners, dog fights and bitten humans as a direct result of retractable leashes.

Do…  acclimate your dogs to feeling comfortable on a traditional short leash.

(Please!)

Don't… bring your cat on a leash.

Unless your vet’s place is a feline-only facility, you’re a magnet for unwanted canine attention when you bring in your otherwise uncontained cat on a leash. Why would you risk it?

Collars

Don't… clip your leash to a loose collar.

We’ve all seen dumbfounded owners holding empty collars as their dogs make for the exits (or worse). Most collars are best employed for carrying ID tags and little more. Use one designed for safe restraint when you’re out for a walk or head off to the vet clinic.

Do... consider getting your dogs used to head halters or front-clip harnesses.

FYI: Those medieval-looking pinch collars are seldom necessary if you work with a behavior professional to train your dog to accept one of the above methods.

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