Help us help you: Best practices for pet owners

Have you noticed that lately, wait times at your veterinary office are longer? You are often put on hold, and have to wait longer to speak with a doctor or to pick up your pet’s food and medications? Maybe you have found yourself thinking, “They don’t care like they used to,” or that “Things have changed around here.”

The truth is, things have definitely changed. However, this does not mean that your veterinary hospital no longer cares. We all care – everyone from our veterinarians, RVTs, assistants and receptionists. And we work harder now than ever before.

Challenges faced by our industry

The veterinary profession faces an all-time professional shortage, accompanied with an increase of pet population, and last but not least, the difficulty of practicing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Put together, these factors have contributed to added stress and pressure for everyone in our team, as well as our colleagues all over the country.

According to statistics from the CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medical Association), in 2019 there were 12,866 veterinarians in Canada, with only 1,674 veterinarians practicing here in British Columbia. As of now, Canada’s population of household pets is 8.3 million cats and 8.2 million dogs. That’s quite the gap of pets-to-veterinarian ratio, not mentioning the other species that we care for!

To bring it closer to home, the Nanaimo census recorded 115,743 household residents in 2019, 104,936 in 2016, and 98,021 in 2011. This means that on average, our city has been welcoming 2,215 new residents every year since 2011. With growth like this it’s overwhelming to imagine how we can efficiently help all of the pets in our community. This is where you can come in!

Practical tips for a better hospital experience

During these times of fast-changing policies that affect our daily routines, it’s important that we all work together. Here is a list of small things you can do to help our team, so that we can maximize our resources and skills, and provide the best care for your pets.

  1. When you notice something off, book an appointment ASAP.
    Our schedules are fully booked and we have a lack of professional staff to take on extra work. If you wait until your pet is very sick, we may not have the ability to use our resources and talent to their full potential to treat your pet.
  1. Ensure a safe and “pet friendly” home environment.
    Prevention is key when it comes to pet care. There are plenty of things in the home that are toxic if pets ingest them. Please ensure that those items and anything that could harm your pet are safely put away out of their reach. Pets getting loose and hit by cars also happen. Always check that gates and doors are locked, and pets are monitored in the yard.
  1.  Pre-book and keep up on regular health appointments.
    Vaccinations are part of a pet’s regular health care routine. Pre-booking these appointments so that your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date, will prevent you from having to scramble during urgent situations that require these vaccine checks (e.g. when you are about to travel with your pet, or if ever you need to kennel your pet).
  1. Do your best to plan for veterinarian recommendations.
    Some clients will leave recommendations until the issue has become urgent, because they were not seeing the pet in pain. Leaving health concerns until they become urgent will cause more expense for the owner and more stress for the pet (as well as their health care team).

With your help and patience, we can get through this together. Our team will continue to work hard to give you and your furry family member the best service we can provide. After all, you own pets and we help pets for the same reason:




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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

The following changes are effective as of Monday, March 23, 2020:

1. We are currently operating a “closed waiting room” policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 250-754-8822. We will take a history from outside of your vehicle, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. We will then return to your vehicle with your pet to discuss our recommended treatment plan. If you do not have a cell phone please knock our door to let us know you have arrived and then return to your vehicle.

2. We are continuing to accept appointments for urgent or sick pets, as well as time-sensitive puppy/kitten vaccinations. All other services will be scheduled for a later time.

3. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday: 8:45 am - 5:00 pm. Saturday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.

4. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment over the phone. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home. To sign up for the online store, visit our website.

5. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.


Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our roles. As such, we have taken measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Petroglyph Animal Hospital