Great Debate: should pet owners be allowed in during vet visits on lockdown?

should pet owners be allowed in for vet visits on lockdown?
Image by David Mark on Pixabay

During the first UK lockdown, we received several messages from pet owners distressed over the fact they were not allowed inside the vet practice as vet visits took place – even when their pets had to be put to sleep.

A reader wrote, ” I watched as she was taken inside without me and saw her confused and frightened face, she cannot see or hear well and was sniffing the air to see if I was at her side as I always am. I never leave her. I watched through the glass as she was shuffled out of my sight and tears filled my eyes. Powerless and alone outside, with no options whatsoever and my girl distressed without me.

“My girl was reunited back with me after being given her injection, panting heavily and clearly stressed. I wished so much she could just have it given outside while I maintained a two-metre distance. An outside booth with a curtain, or perhaps I could wear a face covering, maybe perspex screens could be put up in consult rooms?”

Another, heartbreakingly, was unable to be with her dog as she was put to sleep.

I shall never forget that look, l can see her now, bewildered and alone.

“The nurse came out and took her lead. We were desperate to go with her, but we were not allowed in,” she wrote.

“At the door Skye stopped and looked back at us. I wanted to race over, grab her and take her home. I shall never forget that look, l can see her now, bewildered and alone. Why could the surgery, staffed by caring animal lovers, not have one room used solely by owners who wanted to stay with their pet to the end?”

Many dog owners are calling for measures to be put in place in order to be able to be present during vet visits; however, the British Veterinary Association maintains that such measures are necessary to keep vets and vet nurses safe, as well as the public.

Last April, BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said, “Vets across the UK are working hard to provide essential care for animals in difficult circumstances. Many are working with reduced teams due to furloughing and self-isolation.”

Please trust your veterinary team, respect their decisions, and understand that they are doing their very best

She added, “Worryingly, our members are telling us that they’ve received abuse and undue pressure from clients. This is unacceptable. Vets are exercising their clinical and professional judgement in order to balance animal health and welfare, public health, client safety and the safety of their teams.

“The veterinary profession is playing its part in reducing the spread of Covid-19. This means that they will be assessing and prioritising cases, and clients should expect non-essential procedures to be delayed. Veterinary decisions will vary between practices and in different parts of the country.

“Please trust your veterinary team, respect their decisions, and understand that they are doing their very best.”

What do you think – should pet owners be allowed in during vet visits on lockdown? Tell us what you think here, in the Facebook thread below, or email with the subject line ‘Great Debate’.


  1. I think if it’s to have you beloved friend p.t.s then yes, you should be allowed inside. I’ve always been there for the last moments & cant imagine not being there for them at the end.

  2. My wee Bichon Poppy was PTS the last lockdown.
    I begged and pleaded to be with her I wasn’t allowed my lasting memory of her was being taken away by a vet as I sat in my car In their car park crying hysterically
    She had been with me 13 years it was a awful
    No owner should have to go through that experience ever!

  3. Yes, especially if it’s an end of life situation. To deny both pet and owner those last moments together, and to leave the owner with traumatic memories of their pet being taken away and a lifetime of wondering and worrying about what happened at the end, is simply inhuman. My heart goes out to anyone who has had to suffer this way.

  4. Yes I think we should be allowed in. My dog is reactive and sadly at the moment he is unwell and I’m not allowed In so am.unable to.get him seen. I’m hoping he will get well, but I am worrying as he has stopped eating.

  5. I am so grateful to my vets Swanspool Vets in Wellingborough. Apart from the very start they have allowed one owner in with a mask and even in the early days said they would make provision in the sad event. I feel so fortunate to be one of their clients.

  6. Yes-it cost my little dog her life as the vet that should have treated my little dog didnt,and she was given to a inexperienced vet to treat without my knowledge or consent during last lockdown-had i been let in this would never have happened-wearing mask ppe and gloves should have made this possible-being forced to hand your pet over blindly is totally unacceptable.

  7. Well you see I see it like this….. I work in a shop we deal with customers all day every day, we also get staff from the vets come into the shop too, we don’t ask them to wait outside, all they need to do is wear a face mask! So if that’s acceptable for us why can’t the same happen in the vets! One customer at a time social distance can still happen in the room but at least our pets know they’re not being abandoned


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here