Sometimes it can be frustrating to try and set up a vet appointment for your pet when they have no openings for when you feel that you need it. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why this is happening currently across the United States.
Throughout the COVID 19 pandemic more and more people have been adopting pets. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this has put a strain on many animal hospitals across the country. In addition, more people have been staying home as well, so more people are noticing symptoms of health issues in their pets that they normally wouldn’t have if they were going to work at the office.
In this article we will be diving into the reasons why you may be having difficulty setting up a vet appointment right now. We will also be giving you some advice on how you can help reduce this problem as a pet owner.
1. More People Have Pets
As we have mentioned, more people are adopting pets during the COVID 19 pandemic. This is partly because more people are working from home and have more time to spend with a new pet, and until recently travelling for work was out of the picture for most people as well. In addition, pets make a home feel less lonely, and they also tend to comfort us during uncertain times by providing us with a positive distraction. Unfortunately, this also means that more people are needing to make vet appointments for both routine checkups and emergency visits. This puts some strain on animal hospitals as they are trying to catch up with this new demand, which can make scheduling an appointment more difficult.
2. The Summer is Pretty Busy Already
People tend to lead a more active lifestyle during the summer months, and thus can mean that more pets are technically prone to injuries. Dogs and cats can be more likely to get into things that they shouldn’t, bolt out of homes or yards, and more. This can make getting a vet appointment in the summertime more difficult than during other times of the year, and this is made even worse when more people have pets than they have in the past.
3. Staffing Shortages
There have been staffing shortages in animal hospitals for a while now, and this has been putting more and more pressure on them over the years. Considering the increase in pets in the United States during the Coronavirus pandemic, these staffing shortages are putting more pressure on animal hospitals than ever before. The lack of veterinarians and vet techs can make scheduling vet appointments even more difficult because there are not as many appointments that can be made due to these staffing shortages.
These staffing shortages are partly due to vet techs leaving the profession as a result of burnout. Many vet techs complain that they are overworked and underpaid. Some claim that they are also not being fully utilized, which can lower overall morale over time when vets continuously jump in to do the work that a vet tech could be doing. In addition, some parts of the job can be particularly taxing, especially when a pet needs to be put down or when sick pets don’t make it. All of these things can tend to lead people to look for a different job working with animals. Luckily, many places in the animal care industry are looking to remedy some of these problems that are causing vet tech burnout.
5. New Safety Protocols Take Extra Time
With COVID 19 came extra safety protocols to keep both staff and pet owners safe. Unfortunately, these extra protocols can take a lot of time, especially when added up throughout the day. Instead of pet owners taking their pets into the vets, many vet techs are having to pick them up curbside and bring the patients in themselves. In addition, the introduction of telehealth appointments can make scheduling an appointment a bit more difficult as well.
6. More People Are Noticing Their Pets’ Health Issues
Many people have been working remotely since the COVID 19 pandemic, and this means that these people are spending a lot more time with their pets than they have before this whole thing started. As a result many of these people are noticing symptoms of health conditions in their pets that they wouldn’t have if they were gone at work all day. Although it is great that people are taking their pets to the vet for these things, it can make scheduling an appointment more difficult. This is simply because of the increase in vet appointments being made as a result of this and the other factors that we have mentioned previously.
What Can You Do to Help?
The vet industry has been hit hard with the COVID 19 pandemic, but there are some things that pet owners can do to help. Although you can’t necessarily increase a vet tech’s salary or hire more vet office workers, you can still lighten their workload and keep them safe. You can do this by staying home when you are sick, stop taking your pet to the vet for grooming, and calling as soon as you notice symptoms in your pet. Of course, it is always important to remember to be considerate to others as well.
Stay Home if You Are Sick
Staying home when you feel ill will help to keep vet workers safe and limit the spread of the virus. If you are sick it is recommended that you have someone else take your pet to the vet whenever possible.
Don’t Take Your Pet to the Vet for Grooming
Things like nail trims and ear cleanings are not considered to be urgent vet appointments, so it can take you a while before you can get an appointment for something like this. It is recommended that you either do these things at home or take your pet to a groomer for stuff like this whenever you can.
Call as Soon as You Notice Symptoms
Do not wait to call about your sick pet. Calling early can help you get an appointment more quickly, which is safer for your pet.
Remember to always be considerate to others during your vet visits. This includes other pet owners and all of the pet staff. Many pet owners at the vet are going through a stressful and difficult time, and vet workers often have a stressful job. It is always best to be kind and considerate.