Allowing Dogs In Eyecare Offices: Take Your Dog To Work Day

Take Your Dog To Work Day is June 23, 2017 and National Dog Day is August 26 and I thought I would deal with Dog-eye_chart_tshirt-zazzlethe issue of having dogs in a medical/ eyecare practice.

Dogs are welcome everyplace anymore. Stores and restaurants put out water bowls and carry treats. Dogs are being registered as therapy dogs so owners can carry them anywhere. Dog walkers are common sights. Pet friendly hotels and spas abound. There is even a Pet Convention. Woofstock in Canada had over 300,000 pet lovers attend in 2014. Spending on Pets rose 73% to a record $51 Billion.

An optometrist friend of mine loves dog yet doesn’t allow dogs in his office. I asked hine why he doesn’t allow dogs in his practice. He said too many patients don’t like it, business is hard enough. I suggested he sell Doggles (Dog Sunglasses) and he is probably going to do that.

Eye Bogglers

  • $32,072 Average cost per insurance claim for dog bites and other attacks in 2014
  • $531 million cost of Dog Related Injuries in 2014.
  • 15% to 30% of people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.
  • 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. (Estimated)
  • 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog (Estimated)
  •  30-37% have a cat. (Source: ASPCA)

From The Humane Society 

$10,000 Diamond Encrusted Dog Harness

$10,000 Diamond Encrusted Dog Harness

  • 3,500—Number of animal shelters
  • 6 to 8 million—Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year
  • 25%—Percentage of purebred dogs in shelters
  • 3 to 4 million—Number cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year
  • 2.7 million—Number of adoptable cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year
  • 30%—Percentage of shelter dogs reclaimed by their owners
  • 2 to 5%—Percentage of shelter cats reclaimed by owners

Instead of getting into the laws on animals in a medical practice, which may vary by state, city, county and country. I asked Rebecca Johnson of The GPN EXPERTeam what she thought as a dog lover and owner. She brought up some insightful points:

I love Duke, my little 6 year old Griffshire (Brussels Griffon and Yorkshire Terrier) and Duke loves everyone.  There is nothing he likes more than to show his affection with a sloppy kiss.  Duke is the happiest when he is out and about so I regularly take him with me when I am going through the bank drive-though window where he finds the dog biscuit that magically appears in the plastic tube is much better than the dog biscuit we have at home.  Yes, I am one of those “dog people” who understands the joy of a wagging tail. Seeing a dog at Pet Smart or Home Depot makes me smile.  Seeing dogs in a medical practice brings a different reaction for reasons listed below. 

Dog Bow Tie

Dog Bow Tie

About Duke’s kiss-I find this endearing; others find it revolting. Anyone remember Lucy Van Pelt from the Charlie Brown cartoon? “Ugh! I’ve been kissed by a dog! I have dog germs! Get hot water! Get some disinfectant! Get some Iodine!”   Us “dog people” need to understand that not everyone loves our furry friends.  In fact, a person’s dog gauge can move from love to non-interest to absolute fear.

Dogs can be unpredictable.  My little fellow is would never bite a person or another dog his size, but if a big dog gets in his face Duke demonstrates his Napoleon complex with a quick nip on the jaw of the offender.

A dog may enjoy being in your optical so much that he decides to mark it as his own territory.  Dog urine on a nice rug decreases the love of even the most devout canine-carer.

Allergies to pets with fur or feathers are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. With 15 percent to 30 percent of people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.  Eye doctors treat eye allergies, therefore the chance of having a person with active allergies in the office is greater than running into the same person at Home Depot.

If the practice is in a walking community where many businesses are dog friendly, I suggest putting small framed photos of you or some of the team members with their dogs beside a jar filled with dog treats.  Add another small frame with the statement, “We have best friends too, but they have stay home because we treat eye allergies. Please take a treat for Fido and tell him we are sorry that we cannot meet him today.

Evan Kestenbaum of  The GPN EXPERTeam adds  that if you are one of the many practices that dogs come in only once or twice a year, it may be better to let it slide once in a while.

Jay Binkowitz,  The GPN EXPERTeam also noted that if you have a slew of dog- loving patients, consider putting in a ‘Dog Area’ outside with water, toys and organic treats. That way you have a dog friendly but controlled environment.

All good suggestions and some things you might consider before allowing Pets in the office:

  • Is your office conducive to a Pet Friendly environment?
  • If you allow dogs, will you have cats, birds, iguanas, pigs.. the list can go on and on.
  • If you are in a building with other medical offices, will they become chagrined?
  • Is your staff allergeric?
  • Will having pets be disruptive to your routine?
  • Who will pick up the waste? (And it will happen)
  • Who will be liable for both patients and staff if something happens?
  • Will you be upset if there is property damage? If parents can’t control their kids, what about their pets.
  • What are the local laws?
  • Service Dogs.. anyone can get a service animal license or an emotional support card. Will you allow them?

Resources

 

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