The New Realities of Pet Care
The last few years have brought about massive changes to the way we live our daily lives. Although 2020 is well in the rearview mirror, its influences are still affecting many different industries. If you are a pet owner, you have probably noticed massive shifts in the veterinary field. Your friends at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital want to help you understand these changes to make your next vet visit a more pleasant experience.
More Pet Owners
During lockdown, huge numbers of people adopted pets. In fact, about 1 in 5 American households added at least one furry companion. With this sheer increase in the number of pet owners, veterinary hospitals across the country saw massive surges in the number of new clients and visit requests. With many more people transitioning to remote work, they also now have more time to schedule routine wellness visits, dental cleanings, and other services they may have neglected when they were commuting to an office daily.
Although daily life looks more normal than it has in a while, the pandemic is still not over. This means that veterinary offices are struggling to accommodate industry-wide staff shortages, especially when a staff member is out sick. Some offices are still utilizing curbside care to minimize direct exposure between clients and staff, which requires more time. The veterinary shortage is quickly becoming a huge issue for pet owners across the country–there is currently only 1 veterinarian available for every 6 openings–and good vet techs are also scarce.
Some hospitals have had to reduce business hours due to staffing shortages. Others are directing more urgent care patients to pet emergency hospitals. As all veterinary hospitals scramble to continue to care for their animal patients, they are really struggling.
Try to remember to be kind (and patient) the next time you visit the veterinarian. They are doing the very best they can with the resources they have to offer you and your pet the best service. It would be nice if getting pet care were like it was pre-Covid when you could call up and get in to see your veterinarian within a day or so. Now, too many veterinarians are leaving the field completely due to the stress from longer hours and impatient pet owners. Being rude to your vet staff may make it even more difficult to get care in the future.
Since it is difficult to find immediate open appointments, many desperate pet owners are calling around to a bunch of different veterinary practices and scheduling appointments to get something on the books, and then skipping out on these appointments (with no notice) if they find something sooner. This is making it more difficult for veterinarians to offer appointments to those who need them because they save time for these bookings that never happen. Some offices, like ours, are even starting to require deposits to schedule an appointment to dissuade people from doing this.
How You Can Help
As we all adjust to these “new normals,” it is important for us to work together to make these transitions as smooth and simple as possible. Establishing a relationship with a veterinary hospital is one of the best ways you can help. This means scheduling regular wellness visits (when you have plenty of time to book an appointment weeks in advance). Maintaining a regular wellness schedule helps the staff get to know you and your pet. If your pet has an accident and needs urgent care, a veterinary clinic will try much harder to prioritize a visit for a current client. Many practices try to reserve a few urgent care appointments daily, but these get booked up fast and they often go to clients with pre-established relationships with the practice.
Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is so thankful for our loyal clients. We appreciate your understanding as we all try to navigate this new world of pet care together. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, please call (248) 363–1508.