Should I Worry When the Vet Takes My Dog to the Back Room for Care?

Dog With Vet

Q. My old veterinarian used to do everything to my dog in the exam room with me. He retired, and the new veterinarian now insists on taking pets "in the back" for care. I'm uncomfortable with not seeing what is going on with my dog. Should I change vets?

A. Probably not, and certainly not for this reason alone. There are legitimate reasons to take a pet to the back room for care, including access to special equipment, such as “wet tables” that are better for handling messy procedures. Some pets are also calmer when they're away from their owners, who may sometimes share their anxiety or trigger protective behavior.

But, of course, you need to trust that your pet will be getting good care while he is out of your sight. That’s almost certainly true, but if your previous veterinarian handled things differently, it’s natural for you to be anxious.

As my colleague Dr. Nancy Kay writes, you have to be a knowledgable advocate for your pet’s health when you’re at the veterinarian’s. To make this relationship work in your pet’s best interest, you need to have a good rapport with your veterinarian. A veterinarian could be the most brilliant and talented clinician in the world, but if you do not feel like you’re “clicking” with your vet, then it may be more difficult for your pet to get the most benefit from having such an incredible doctor. When that happens, then yes, you may need to consider a different veterinarian.

But before making any hasty decisions, my advice is to discuss the situation with your new veterinarian. Chances are she will be happy to arrange a tour of the entire facility, and may be able to accommodate you on many (but not all) appointments by treating your pet in the exam room.

I’d bet once you’re used to your new veterinarian’s way of doing things and are comfortable working in partnership on behalf of your pet, this won’t be an issue anymore.


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!