An insider’s look at what’s happening in veterinary hospitals throughout NOVA and the whole country.
You may or may not have noticed, but there has been a huge growth in the population – of puppies!
Congratulations if you are one of the many, whom, over the course of the past several months of social isolation, have realized that pets may make better, safer companions than people do, and have adopted that puppy you or your family have always wanted.
You have a new friend, family member, walking partner, hobby and responsibility all rolled into one adorable, loving, living, breathing unpredictable baby who is and will forever be completely dependent upon you for the rest of their lives. Sorry to make is sound a bunch more serious and less fun than you thought it would be, but let’s face it, unless you are a seasoned dog whisperer, the “puppymoon” is over and you’ve probably realized that puppies are a lot of work and you may need help.
Veterinarians have definitely noticed. New puppies are arguably the most fun part of our jobs. Veterinary Hospitals and clinics all over the country have been inundated, however, with new puppy visits, in addition to usual well visits and more frequent sick and injured visits that usually happen when people are around their pets more and notice minor problems that may had gone unnoticed. People have found that it has been difficult to even get an appointment within a few weeks- almost as long as a wait for human doctor appointments. Please be patient with us! There is a shortage of veterinarians. We are working around COVID 19 restrictions with shortened hours and we are missing our high-risk staff members who have been furloughed or are working from home until it is safer for them to be at work.
Many “puppy parents” are not happy with curbside service but if ANYONE in a clinic gets sick the whole place would need to close for a while until the whole staff gets tested and quarantined and during that time no pets could be seen or cared for. It has happened to more than a few local clinics. If you are worried about how your new pet is being treated while you are out in your car then, please, have no fear. They are being played with and adored by the veterinarians and staff. Most pets (and vets) are more relaxed than usual without all of the noises and commotion there can sometimes be with a full waiting room. Most of us slightly introverted veterinarians are able to let down the professional image and be a little silly with our patients. We LOVE it. Playing with puppies can offset the more difficult, serious cases and help us focus on some positives when we go home at night.
Veterinarians are also having some difficulties by not having parents in the with them too. We are wearing masks all day for 12-14-hour days because we can’t socially distance from each other, and we are having to explain some difficult things over the phone instead of in person. Most of us are only making exceptions to allow parents to spend last moments with pets that are passing. Puppy visits are also tough because we usually like to show people how to trim nails, brush teeth and give ear cleaning and training demonstrations. Hopefully you’ve had at least one or two conversations and have been well informed about necessary vaccinations and schedules, testing for parasites, and administration of preventative medications. It’s also important to learn about wellness plans and pet insurance, animal poisons and spaying or neutering pets for their health and prevention of unwanted litters. This is in addition to learning about crate training, leash walking, feeding, potty training, and prevention of illnesses and accidents, aggression and bad behaviors.
There is so much to learn and we expect there to be a lot of questions, but a lot of times vets will have to stay several hours past appointment times to call and answer these questions, so again, please be patient with us. If you are having a difficult time getting answers to your puppy care questions or need some puppy care techniques demonstrated, feel free to visit my Instagram page and ask away. I cannot give specific medical advice but if you have basic care questions or would like to clarify directions that your veterinarian has given then please ask away. I am still working full time and still learning how to post videos so, again, don’t ask about anything urgent, please go to your veterinarian or local Veterinary Emergency Clinic for immediate care.
We hope that your new pandemic puppy is well on their way to being a well-adjusted well-behaved, happy family member and a wonderful companion for socially distanced activities for you and your whole family to enjoy while staying home until it is safer to go back to work and school and out in groups.
Also, feel free to send me photos of your pet Halloween costumes to post on my page! Instagram: pauladvm.pet.life.coach
Dr. Paula Clark is a small animal veterinary clinician with 25 years of experience in small animal medicine, she has been practicing in the Northern Virginia area for the past 12 years. She is a graduate of the top-rated North Carolina State University Veterinary School and specializes in improving the quality of life for cats and dogs by providing Integrative pain management, nutrition, exercise, and behavioral advice.
Instagram @pauladvm.pet.life.coach and on you tube @ integrative veterinary consultants