The way that people work and interact with each other has suddenly changed during the COVID-19 crisis. Days of spending hours at work while your pet naps away on the couch are gone, at least for now. Social distancing while trying to maintain a career and worrying about the future is enough to cause everybody some anxiety. What happens when your pet starts to get stressed out too? Here are a few tips from the experts to help you and your best friend deal with these stressful times.
We wanted to take this opportunity to give an update on our operational procedures moving forward during these unprecedented times. As you may already know, restrictions on veterinary medicine put in place by Governor Whitmer have been lifted as businesses in every sector attempt to work their way back to “normal”. This is great news for us, as it means we can return to scheduling wellness appointments and routine surgeries and dental cleanings. Please keep in mind that with two months of significantly limited scheduling, we have a lot of “catch up” to do and patients that need to be seen, in addition to daily urgent care and emergencies that require attention. That means our schedule is very full. Be advised that we are currently scheduling further out than you may be used to. We are hoping to alleviate some of this stress by continuing to expand back to full hours and full staff. Beginning in July we will have one doctor available for appointments on Tuesday and Thursday evenings again. Saturdays are to be determined. Please continue to have patience with us as we work to get everyone on the schedule.
For the time being and into the foreseeable future, we will continue with curbside service. You will remain in your vehicle while a member of our staff escorts your pet to and from the building. Communication regarding your appointment will be conducted over the phone with the technician and doctor. Payments will be taken over the phone when possible, though we are still accepting payment by cash or check. We understand and have heard the frustrations surrounding these new rules, but feel this is the best course of action in our current situation. COVID-19 remains a threat even with quarantine regulations loosening. If a staff member were to test positive, Schmitt’s Animal Hospital would effectively need to shut down for weeks. To prevent that from happening, limiting face-to-face client interactions is a necessity. Our building is not conducive to social distancing, a challenge that the staff must conquer daily. As a result, clients will be invited into the building only at a doctor’s discretion and for euthanasia appointments.
We know this is a difficult time for everyone. Even as life slowly returns to normal, it is not the normal that we are used to. The safety of our staff and clients is the driving force as we navigate our way through this ever-changing pandemic. Thank you for your understanding and grace.
Let’s face it: we’re in unprecedented times right now. States are on lock-down. School years have ended early. Businesses are either closed or operating at very limited capacity. You’re not supposed to leave your house and working from home is the new normal. All the extra time at home may have you thinking, “Wow, now would be a great time to get a puppy!” But let’s take a closer look at everything that goes into raising a puppy.
Look, we get it! Puppies are amazing and wonderful and everything that is good in the world. But they’re more than just a cute face, and a lot of what goes into raising a well-rounded puppy may be hindered by the current state of COVID-19 in the world.
As you already know, veterinary offices are currently operating at bare minimum requirements in terms of staff and the appointments they are allowed to see. This may be problematic for puppies, as they require a series of monthly vaccinations to be properly protected against disease. Puppies may also need to see a veterinarian for any myriad of reasons. Whether it be gastrointestinal upset, injuries, ingestion of foreign objects, the list could go on and on. Surgeries like spays and neuters have been deemed non-essential in an effort to conserve medical supplies and personal protection equipment. You must also take into consideration the added exposure you are receiving as you take your puppy to and from the vet, as well as the exposure to the staff as they care for your puppy.
There are also behavioral aspects of raising a puppy that should be examined during these specific circumstances. Puppies require socialization, and lots of it! Improper socialization can result in fearful, shy, and (hopefully not but it does happen) aggressive dogs down the line. Ideally your puppy should be exposed to as many different things as possible! Big humans, small humans, men, women, beards, glasses, strange and loud noises, other dogs! It’s difficult to teach your puppy these things are ok when social distancing is touted as the #1 way to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Plus, it may seem counter-intuitive, but being able to spend all your time with your puppy right now may not be a good thing. What happens when things calm down and you return to work and life returns to (semi)normal? Whether that’s weeks or months from now, your pup will be accustomed to having you around 24/7. They may not take the change in what they consider their “normal” routine lightly and could develop/exhibit separation anxiety.
For those that do currently have a young pup during this COVID-19 pandemic, there are some things you can do and should be aware of. It is advisable to have your pup spend some time alone each day. Set them up for a nice nap in their crate that is away in another room. Practice being away from each other. And while it may be tempting to bring them on every walk with you, they should stay home until they are fully vaccinated. Having to hospitalize your puppy with parvovirus is an added stress that can be easily avoided.
So if the idea of “Let’s get a quarantine puppy!” comes up, you obviously have to do what is best for your family and your circumstances. We are not here to say what is right and what is wrong, only to bring up some thoughtful points. Don’t get us wrong, we love puppies! And, as always, we will continue to do our part in keeping your pup in great health for a long life ahead.
Michigan is now under an executive "Stay-At-Home" order.
Veterinary medicine is considered an essential service to public health, so Schmitt's Animal Hospital will remain open during the order. However, there will be some additional changes to our daily operations. We will only be staffing one doctor during the day and cutting back on the amount of staff in the building, so please be patient with phones and trying to reach us. Only appointments requiring immediate attention will be seen. We will also be closing at 4pm every day, so be sure to pick up any medications or food needed prior to that time. Our newly instated COVID-19 procedures will remain in effect. Please do not enter the building. Call from your car in the parking lot and we will assist you from there.
We understand that these are stressful and trying times for everyone and we appreciate your cooperation as we navigate these changes together.
We would like to take a moment to thank all of our clients for being so cooperative with our new procedures put in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please understand that these policies have been put in place in an effort to keep our staff healthy so we may continue to be open and serve the needs of your pets, as well as the safety and health of our clients.
For now, we are asking that clients do not enter the building. When you arrive for your appointment, please remain in your car & call the office number at (616)791-2011 to check-in with the receptionists. They will connect you with the Licensed Technician who will discuss your pet's needs with you - just as they normally would. They will then come out to your car to retrieve your pet and bring them inside the building for their exam with the doctor and any other treatments needed. We know being separated from your pet may be uncomfortable for some owners. As always, we will handle and treat your pet with love, respect, and care. If you still feel you are unable to abide by this new policy, it would be best to postpone your appointment until a later time. Once the exam has been conducted the doctor will call to discuss any findings and treatment options. Credit card payments will be taken over the phone and your pet will be returned to you at your vehicle.
For medication refills and food purchases, the same rules apply. You may also utilize our online pharmacy that can ship directly to your house. Visit our website and click "Online Store" to be connected.
Our phone lines are understandably busier right now. If you are unable to get through please try again.
Thank you again for understanding these necessary changes during this time. Hopefully soon we will be able to return to business as usual.
Like so many of you, we have spent the last several days and weeks learning about COVID-19 and how it is impacting our world. In these days of uncertainty, one thing is certain: we care about the safety of our Schmitt's Animal Hospital clients, patients, and staff. First, know that COVID-19 is not causing disease in animals. There is currently no scientific evidence of passage between humans and animals. However, animals can carry the virus on their fur, faces, etc. Therefore, be aware that animals can move the virus to other people. The CDC recommends WASHING YOUR HANDS after contact with animals and keep your face away.
Here's what we are doing:
If you are ill or have travel history in the last two weeks, we are asking that you please do not come to the hospital.
We appreciate your trust in Schmitt's Animal Hospital. As the situation evolves new guidelines may be put in place. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
We know that a trip to the vet is not every animal's idea of a good time. There are some cats and dogs that simply cannot move beyond that fear barrier. Fearful animals are less likely to brought to the vet by their owners simply because of the stress it causes to both parties. Even if they do make it to the vet, their level of fear can limit what we are able to accomplish during their visit. These fearful animals are perfect candidates for pre-visit pharmaceuticals. Pre-visit pharmaceuticals are short-acting, situational anxiety relieving medications we can have patients take at home before their visit to us. They can go a long way in helping animals be more comfortable at the vet and even learn to overcome their fear and anxiety.
Check out what our receptionist, Caitie, had to say about pre-visit pharmaceuticals and her cat, Shelly:
Blog courtesy of Covetrus
Protect Your Pet from Valentine's Dangers
Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year — flowers, candy and warm fuzzies are abundant. Why shouldn’t our pets get to join in? While spoiling our pets with a special treat or new toy is a great idea, keeping them safe is, too. Learn how to spread the love while keeping pets safe from potential Valentine’s Day hazards.
Dental disease in pets is not uncommon. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease by the age of three, with symptoms such as bad breath, difficulty eating or chewing, and pawing at the mouth. Pets need dental care just as much as people do!
Daily dental care is far more than a cosmetic issue. It's the most important defense against periodontal disease, often known as "gum disease." Caused by plaque and tartar buildup, which is loaded with dangerous bacteria, periodontal disease can destroy the tissues that surround the teeth, eventually causing tooth root abscesses and tooth loss. The bacteria from periodontal disease can also enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other areas of the body, leading to heart, kidney, and liver disease.
To help your pet avoid the risks of periodontal disease, here are the answers to some common dental questions:
This time of year is always exciting and sometimes stressful with decorating, baking, wrapping presents, traveling, and having guests over. We get so caught up in the busyness of the holidays that we sometimes forget to prioritize our pets and their safety. We've put together a list of tips and things to avoid this season to ensure that your furry friends enjoy the holidays safely.
Get in touch
4268 Three Mile NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:30 am to 6:00 pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 8:30 am to 8:00 pm
After hour emergency consultations are available to clients of record until 10:00 pm. Our main line will direct to the doctor on call.