During the Covid pandemic, curbside drop-off and pickup became the norm at veterinary practices around the world. The reactions to this change have been mixed, for veterinary practitioners, clients…and pets!
Many veterinarians feel that while direct, in-person contact with pet owners is important, curbside service has allowed for smooth and efficient appointments.
Other vets dislike curbside service and say that it requires more support staff. Owners can help calm and hold their pets in the exam room, a duty that had to be taken over by support staff, who have also been busier fielding calls and bringing pets in and out.
Vets have also been discussing the disadvantages of playing phone tag with owners and missing out on some important non-verbal cues that they pick up on when the owner is in the clinic.
How does your pet feel about curbside service? You may be uncomfortable having your pet go into the office alone, but some vets are reporting that nervous pets are benefiting from a calm and quiet atmosphere, free from the chaos of a busy waiting room.
Pet owners are about equally split on curbside service. Some miss being with their pets and interacting directly with the vet. Other owners like the efficiency of curbside service.
What will the future look like? Many veterinary practices expect to offer some sort of hybrid service in the future. Curbside service may be appropriate for a simple visit, like a vaccine booster shot or a blood draw.
Some vets are finding new ways to improve the curbside experience so that it can become a normal part of the practice, like offering emailed intake forms and appointment records and even numbering parking spaces to make it easier for the vet techs to find clients.