Owners don't like to hear that their pet is being taken "to the back," but there are a few reasons this happens. And what goes on behind closed doors might surprise you.
It's scary when your pet is taken from the comfort of your side in the check-in room to a mysterious treatment and procedure area in the back of the vet clinic. But both owner and pet are usually better off following this protocol.
Many owners think their dog, cat or other animal is merely poked and prodded behind closed doors, all the meanwhile tense and terrified. But in reality, most pets calm down when they're away from their owners at the vet.
Pets pick up on their human's anxiety. Whether owners recognize it in themselves or not, the majority of pet owners that walk into vet hospitals are anxious about anything being done to their pet--even diagnostics that might better their overall health.
It all starts with the temperature check in the room. Owners often mention even before the thermometer is inserted via the back-end route, "Isn't there another way to do that?"
In fact, there isn't. Rectal temperatures in animals are the most accurate means. Ear thermometers tried and failed. They're not only inaccurate, but pets prefer them much less than a little tushy insertion. Keep in mind that the thermometer probe is significantly smaller than the size of your pet's feces.
When owners get anxious about something as simple as a temperature check, their pets pick up on it. Can you imagine trying to do a blood draw or restrain a pet for x-rays with the owner standing by?
In addition to owner anxiety, there's another reason pets are taken to the back for procedures. If your pet is fearful or doesn't like being restrained, the veterinary staff would rather he associate the clinical experience with them than you.
But what really happens behind those doors anyway?
The procedure part is often quick and painless. The majority of the time spent in the back is filled with belly rubs, head scratches, praise, and treats. Multiple employees will come by to comment on how cute your Golden Retriever is even though he's the third Golden patient that day. Veterinary workers love every patient an equal amount--although they do have their favorites.
So next time you begin to worry because a vet tech is taking your pet to the back, try instead to encourage your pet with praise. And when he returns, give him even more praise. Your pet might soon find out that even nail trims can be an enjoyable procedure!