The Petiquette Expert
We talked with Jeff Bangle, a veterinarian in the Athens area, about the expectation of pets and their owners during visits.
1. Tell us a little about your background and personal experience in the veterinary field.
My undergraduate degree is from Presbyterian College, and I graduated from UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. I began my career in Watkinsville, Georgia where I am co-owner of Oconee Veterinary Hospital. My focus is strictly companion animal medicine with special interests in internal medicine, dermatology, surgery, senior pet care, physical therapy and rehabilitation of injured, arthritic or postoperative orthopedic patients.2. What are your top etiquette rules for pet owners when visiting the vet?
Be on time. We don't want to rush you to get to the next appointment.
Have your dog on a leash and under control, and/or have your cat in a secure carrier.
Come prepared with questions, undivided attention, and focus on your pet. I work on 30 minute appointments, and I like to make sure you leave with a full understanding of what we are trying to accomplish on your visit with us.3. What is the one mistake you see people make when it comes to their pets, specifically involving etiquette?
Most of my clients and their pets do exceptionally well! The occasional out of control pet is to be expected. We love to see pets happy when they come and see us!4. If you could give one piece of advice to new pet owners, what would it be?
Hard to give just one piece of advice! Really, in a nutshell, listen to your veterinarian, trust their advice and be prepared to ask questions. Allow for regular wellness and preventative exams as well as diagnostic testing. Consider pet insurance; yes, it can be very useful. Realize you are your pet's entire life. They have only you, they worship you, and are totally dependent on you to take care of them. Be responsible!5. What advice can you give new pet owners to ensure good pet etiquette?
Start training your pets very young. There is a very short window of opportunity in a young pets' life that proper socialization skills can be ingrained. Teach them early how to walk on a leash, and how to learn basic commands so your life in the yard or at the dog park isn't miserable when another person or dog is nearby.
Public Behavior 101
- Keep aggressive dogs close and offer your help and information in the incident your dog hurts another pet.
- Feed your dog before taking him to a store or restaurant.
- Train your dog to greet others in a polite way.
- Always maintain control of your dog in public places.
- Obey all leash laws.
- Prepare your pet well before leaving them for long periods of times so they do not disturb your neighbors.
- Teach your dog gentle behavior around children.
- The sooner your pet learns basic commands the better behaved they should be around other people and in public.
- Be prepared when travelling with your pet.
- Always clean up after your pet.
- Gently but firmly set up boundaries when it comes to how your pet interacts with other people's personal property.
- Be mindful of others when bringing your pet to parties or gatherings. Some people aren't comfortable around pets.
- Know how your pet interacts with new people and make accommodations that ensure the comfort of both parties.
- Before visiting someone for an overnight, always ask permission to bring your pet.