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My Pet World: Visiting the vet during pandemic

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

During a pandemic, is it safe to take your pet to the vet? Veterinary clinics and emergency clinics are considered essential services and many still are open.

In order to keep people safe and observe social distancing protocols though, they have had to change some of the ways they operate. Here is what you likely can expect when you call or take your pet to the vet (or spay/neuter clinic).

When you make an appointment, the clinic may ask you to fill out paperwork online in advance. When you arrive at the clinic, you likely will call the clinic from your car. Someone will emerge from the clinic (with a mask on) to get your pet. Make it easy for that person to access your pet from either the back of a hatchback or the back-seat passenger side of the car so they maintain proper social distance from you.

If you must walk to the vet, you likely will be asked to call when you reach the front door or a side door and someone will come out to retrieve your pet.

Next, the vet will call you during or after the exam to review your pet's health. Afterward, you pay for services via phone and credit card and a receipt will be sent to your email. A staff person emerges again to return your pet to your car.

Often, animals get sick in the evening or over the weekend, and you may wonder whether you need to take your pet to the emergency clinic or wait until the next day to see your vet.


I talked to Dr. Shlomo Freiman, a Washington State-based veterinarian and co-founder of Petriage, last week about his new free app called Petriage. He says pet owners can put their pet's symptoms into the free app, and it will identify your situation and share how to treat non-emergency symptoms and when you need to take your pet to the emergency vet. Check it out at your App store.

Dear Cathy,

I have an extremely sweet 6-year-old female boxer whose only bad habit is that she doesn't like other dogs. She has an anxious personality. On walks, she used to act aggressively but has learned "no bark" with the distraction of treats.

I will soon be moving to live with my son's family who have two dogs, both Tibetan Terriers. What suggestions do you have to help me sensitize my boxer to adjust to living with other dogs?


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