Vets Still Essential During Lockdown: How To Put Safety First When Taking Your Furry Friend For A Visit
At Oneplan they want your pet’s health (& yours) to come first, always, which is why we take the time to share some essential guidelines and safety checks to keep in mind when taking your pet to the local vet. The safety of both you and your animal is our top priority, which is why, while you do your best to look after your pet’s health, we do our best to look after yours.
Are vets still open during lockdown?
Yes, you can rest easy. Vets will stay open for the duration of the lockdown so there’s no need to worry about your furry friends. Luckily, despite the hundreds of business operations that have been suspended during the lockdown period, veterinarian practices are on the government’s list of essential services.
This is great news, but it's not an excuse to forget everything we’ve been practicing. It’s still really important to keep social distancing and hygiene a priority at all times.
Also, be sure to keep in mind that this is an essential service, meaning that, unless it is absolutely necessary, you should not be leaving your home.
Take your pet to the vet only if they are sick or injured. If you have a vital check-up approaching, your vet will let you know. The risk of exposing yourself - and, through that, your family - by coming in contact with other people is one that nobody wants to take.
Check with your vet before you arrive at the practice. Call ahead to make sure that your vet is open and that the operating hours are still the same. Be sure to ask about any particular procedures that they may have in place. Should you bring your pet inside or will someone meet you outside or at the door to collect him or her?
Pro tip: remember to check the details of your insurance cover before you go to the vet. Various insurers and different insurance plans have different waiting periods. That’s the amount of time that has to pass before you can claim for a specific event again. It’s better to be clued-up and well prepared for any sneaky costs that may come up and know the amount that you’ll then be able to claim for.
Caution is key
Remember, when taking your pet to the vet your healthy hygiene habits should still apply (that means around your pets and around other people). Don’t forget to keep your own health in mind while trying to look after your pet. We know all this will take some getting used to but it’s worth it in the long-run. A healthy pet with a really sick owner is not a real win here.
Limited contact with people
Although veterinarian practices and their staff do their best to keep their environment sanitized, it’s still a public place - and a public place means a personal risk.
If possible, try to arrange a curbside drop-off where you hand over your pet to an assistant outside the practice and wait in the car for the duration of the appointment. That way you avoid coming into contact with the people inside, helping prevent both the risk of them infecting you or you infecting them (as sometimes, it can take a few days before the symptoms of the virus start to show).
You may even want to give your vet a quick call and explain your pet’s symptoms briefly. The vet can then advise you whether it’s necessary to make the trip or not. If you have a scheduled check up, ask your vet if you can video call and carry out the appointment online instead. Just doing small things could save you both a lot of hassle, you’ll see.
Limited contact with surfaces
When taking your pet to the vet, you should have one mission in mind: limit as much contact as possible. Don’t touch door handles, surfaces or communal pens, if possible. Sanitize or wash your hands for 20 seconds both before you enter the building and after you’ve left at the end of the appointment.
If roadside drop-off is not an option and you do have to enter the clinic, keep your dog on a leash or your cat in its carrier. Stick to keeping as much distance between you and the other people as possible. According to WHO, the coronavirus can last on surfaces anywhere from several hours to several days, so there is a good chance that these surfaces could still hold the virus if an infected person had come into contact with them even a few days ago.
Some tech-savvy practices are also implementing hands-free, touchless modes of payment during check-out, so be sure to ask the person upfront about your payment options.
Who should take your pet to the vet
It may not be an option for people isolating themselves, but those lucky enough to be with their families should take some time to do a quick analysis of who’d be the least-risk option.
For example, if someone in your family is feeling sick and shows even the slightest possibility of having coronavirus symptoms, rather ask another member to go in order to reduce the risk of exposure to the staff at the clinic.
If a family member has a pre-existing health condition (such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes), they should also stay at home and let someone else make the trip. Even if you have someone with known immune system issues, it's better to avoid taking the chance. The health and safety of your family should always be first and foremost in your mind.
How can you help
Local vets are under a lot of strain and their staff don’t have the same luxury of staying at home and in isolation the way most other people do. You can do your part to help.
Take some care to show a bit more patience and understanding when it comes to the carers and staff. Waiting periods may be longer and operations may not run as smoothly as you’re used to. That’s your part of the job right now - showing as much kindness and a compassion as you can from your side. Something as simple as taking the time to thank your vet through an email or text will make their day, we guarantee it.
Look no further than Oneplan
Don’t worry, here at Oneplan we haven’t forgotten your lovable and loyal pets. Even though things have changed, Oneplan hasn’t. Our priority is always to provide you with the best cover possible at the most affordable price. We know that your animals are part of the family, which is why we provide top-of-the-range insurance plans for them too.
With Oneplan Pet Insurance, we include cover for vet visits and routine care so you don't have to sweat about cost-concerns when your priority is your pet’s well-being.
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