Taking your dog to the vet on Christmas day will almost certainly ruin your festivities and make a sizeable dent in your bank balance, but sometimes this is unavoidable nonetheless. Christmas day is actually a fairly hazardous time of the year for dogs, and dogs in their turn are both quite opportunistic and not always possessed of masses of common sense, and accidents and accidental “Fido just ate all the Dairy Milk” incidents can and do happen, however vigilant you are.
Additionally, some dogs will simply get sick or hurt on Christmas day quite randomly, unrelated to the season itself and all of the potential hazards it can bring; which means that every year, a few (or sometimes rather more than a few) unlucky dogs and owners spend a large portion of Christmas day at the vets.
If your dog needs to see the vet on Christmas day, you’ll probably be worried and/or exasperated and have a lot on your mind other than the logistics of it all, and not really be paying much attention to how Christmas day veterinary care all works. However, if you are interested in how vets work on Christmas day and what you might expect, this article will tell you eight things you might not know about veterinary provision for dogs and other pets on Christmas day.
Not all veterinary clinics provide their own on-site 24-hour care, but they all make provision for the care of their patients outside of normal hours in an emergency.
There is no day of the year nor time of the day or night when you will not be able to access veterinary services, Christmas day included, but what provision is available and what you need to do might be slightly different to the norm over Christmas too.
Christmas day out of hours veterinary coverage might be provided at a different clinic than the one you visit for routine appointments. This may be normal for your clinic’s out of hours coverage anyway, or a specific provision for Christmas only.
Be prepared to have to travel somewhere other than normal, and potentially further than normal too, and be ready to note down the address or postcode for your SatNav if you are told this.
Christmas day can go either way in veterinary clinics; some years the average clinic will get not a single call or emergency, whilst at others, the phone never stops and a perpetual stream of dogs and other pets are in and out.
However, Christmas day is often one of the busiest days of the year for vets, particularly clinics covering out of hours care for many other vets as well as their own clients.
A vet might be called in for an emergency and so, may not be there waiting on-site; if this is the case, you will potentially be told that it could be up to half an hour (rarely longer) before the vet gets to the clinic, and so you may arrive there before they do if this is the case.
This is rarely the case if using a dedicated 24-hour veterinary hospital, or one that offers out of hours care for a range of clinics.
Some clinics may offer pet taxi services, but this should not be relied upon
Some veterinary clinics, particularly large chains, may be able to collect your pet and take them to the clinic if you have no way of getting transport. However, this is very unlikely and should not be relied upon and also, will delay your dog’s treatment, as the lift has to get to you and get the dog back to the clinic as well, and no care is administered on the move.
On which note, few vets offer out of hours call-outs as standard, if at all, and it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get your vet to come to you on Christmas day rather than the other way round.
Out-of-hours emergency consults are charged at a premium all year round, and this is apt to be even higher than normal at Christmas. Even if your vet gives your dog a clean bill of health and sends them home, you’re unlikely to see a lot of change from £200.
This may be significantly more too depending on what is needed, but as long as your vet agrees that your decision to visit was warranted, the good news is that most dog insurance policies will cover the cost of such consults as long as they are within the remit of your exact policy terms.
If the idea of paying for a Christmas day vet visit is making you feel faint, you might be wondering whether or not your dog can wait until Boxing day. However, the costs are likely to be just as high on Boxing day too, plus your dog might have gotten worse, or have suffered unnecessarily, in the meantime.
Finally, remember that vets, veterinary nurses and their support staff are missing their own families and loved ones to care for your pet over Christmas – and a thank you and letting you know that you appreciate their help if you do need it will go a long way.