Why I Don’t Take Pictures At The Vet

Honey did the cutest thing at the vet last week.

I know you would have gotten a kick out of seeing it. But I don’t have a single image.

Sorry. I don’t take pictures at the vet.

Honey the golden retriever poses with a stone bull dog.

Okay, I see what you want. I’ll pose with this little stiff dude for a while. But if he doesn’t move soon, I think we should take him to the vet.

Honey At The Vet

Let me create a word picture of Honey at the vet.

First off, she just loves it.

Despite being whisked up on a table and having her foot prodded at, she’s thrilled to see all her new friends. Every. Time.

Last week when we went in for a brief check, she could hardly contain her joy.

While we were sitting in the examining room waiting for the vet, Honey perked up her ears at every sound on the other side of the door.

Is she coming? Is that my friend on the other side of the door?

Finally, I led Honey over to the big window that looked out onto the parking area.

She propped her head on the window sill to watch a great Dane and her people coming in and did a little happy dance with her front paws.

Adorable, right?

I’m sure it would have made a great picture. But I didn’t have my camera.

Because I never take it to the vet.

Honey the golden retriever poses with stone bull dog.

Here I am looking right at you. Adorable, right?

Why I Don’t Take Pictures

Believe me, I’ve considered it.

I need fresh pictures to break up my wordy posts. Honey is adorable. And a vet visit is something I’m likely to write about.

But I’ve thought it over and I have a few reasons I don’t take pictures at the vet’s office.

You realize these pictures are just silly, right?

You realize these pictures are just silly, right? You’d get better shots at the vet’s office.

1. Vets usually run behind schedule.

By the time the vet takes a few extra minutes with every patient, they’re running behind schedule.

The person worried about her cat at the 5 p.m. appointment doesn’t need me making things go even slower.

2. Some people are private.

If I took pictures, I’d need to protect the privacy of other people. Or get their permission to include them on the blog.

It’s just too much trouble. Some people might not feel comfortable saying no even though they want to. And it slows things down (see #1).

3. It’s one more complication while the vet and vet techs are trying to do their jobs.

I like to stroke Honey while she’s being examined. Or will slip her a tiny treat while she’s giving blood.

But I’m very careful to stay out of the way. And to step back immediately if I find myself getting in the way.

4. The setting isn’t very attractive.

No matter how many cute puppy pictures or life cycle of the flea posters a vet puts up in her office, it’s not exactly the beach.

And finally, the biggest reason I don’t take pictures at the vet’s office?

Honey the golden retriever is bored with the stone bull dog.

It’s your job to take care of me now. Can’t you tell I’m bored?

5. My job at the vet is to take care of Honey.

Yes, I want to be sensitive to the vet and her staff. I want to respect other people in the waiting room with their pets.

But my primary job is to take care of Honey.

It’s the same reason I don’t take a book or read magazines.

If Honey looks thirsty I get her a drink. I watch the floor for signs of perspiration (did you know dogs sweat through their paws when they’re anxious?). I do small training exercises if the wait gets too long.

And I try to engage closely with the vet and staff so I can get their best knowledge about how to take care of Honey.

I’m paying them for their expertise. I want to at least take advantage of it by listening carefully and asking follow-up questions.

Should Anyone Take Pictures At The Vet

I’ve been surprised to find pictures of a vet’s office on social media and blogs.

But I’m not in a big hurry to say no one should take pictures at the vet’s office.

Some people use the pictures to illustrate stories that will help others care for their pets.

And others are such great multi taskers with marvelous cameras on their phones that they can comfort their dog, get permission from the vet, and snap a few shots off in the time it takes me to remember how to turn the camera on.

I won’t be following them.

So let’s hope that after Honey gets her stitches out, we won’t be seeing much of the vet.

Because I need some nice shots. And I’d hate for them to be taken in front of a canine gingivitis poster.

Honey the golden retriever is done posing with stone bull dog.

Okay, that’s it. I’m done.

Your Turn: Do you take pictures at the vet? Why or why not?

All pics were taken by my husband who’s taking first crack at learning our new camera. We can’t wait to see how it does with action shots. But Honey is not allowed to run and jump while her stitches are healing.

Stay tuned.


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  1. I agree with you, and I don’t actually have my camera on me most of the time anyways. The vet isn’t a place that I usually find myself idling around anyways. Maybe if I had a fancy phone with a nice camera I’d find myself snapping a few, but I’m old school and have a camera-camera that I lug around.

    • Yeah, with a leash, treats, and list of questions for the vet, I don’t have room for a camera.

      I suspect that lots of people who do get snaps at the vet are using their phones.

  2. Since I hate having my own picture taken, I certainly won’t take someone else’s (even with asking which I would be too uncomfortable to do.). Plus my dogs are trying to make kamikaze dives off the table, so it requires all my strength to keep them up there. My dogs also listen to every sound behind the door, but it is so they can cower in fear if they hear the vet coming :-(

    If I were to get a puppy, I might take a picture, but without humans in it…..

    • The thought of short legged dogs with long backs taking kamikaze dives off a vet’s table filled me with fear. Are you sure you don’t want to get parachutes for your boys? Just in case?

  3. I love the photos of Honey next to the bulldog statue. Hubby did a great job. As for the vet, I wholeheartedly agree. I’m not a great photographer, and it consumes all of my brain to get the shot composed and in focus (yes even with a point and shoot on auto). It’s more important to build a good relationship with the vet and vet tech, and be there to support Toby. Great post!

    • I’m with you on the difficulties of taking a good picture. If I did want to take a pic of Honey at the vet, I’d probably be lucky to get her floofie tail walking out of the shot. :)

      And I bet Toby is happy to have your full attention anyway.

  4. I’m usually too worried about them to even remember to take pictures. I have once or twice and typically it’s when we are in the exam room waiting…and waiting and we all get bored. Your points are spot on though.

    • I don’t know what’s the worst thing about sitting in the exam room. Is it the waiting? Is it dealing with all the noises outside the door? Is it the worrying? Or is it those awful posts showing dog gum disease?

      The best day of my life was when I realized that the exam room was a great place to work on training with distractions. It kept both of us from getting bored or anxious.

  5. I have a really hard time photographing people, at all. While my vet is awesome, I would have a really hard time asking to take his photo. And Torrey HATES the vet. Just juggling her is enough for me.

  6. Margaret T. says:

    I have a phone to take pictures with, but I’m generally attending to the dog, the other dogs and cats in the office, and what the vet or the vet techs are saying to even think about taking pictures. The exception? My Tess is one of the 3000 dogs in the Morris Animal Foundation’s Lifetime Study. So for the once a year appointment, I’ll take a picture of her with her vet, who does extra work for this research.

  7. My dogs love the vet and everyone who works there. My daughter comes to all vet appointments with the dogs, so she loves to take pictures with her phone and show them off to her friends.

  8. I do sometimes, but usually in the exam room when we’re’ alone. I did try for a while to get pix with Lilly and the vet techs who did her chemo, but after a couple of them said they’d rather not, I stopped asking / trying. I’ve never asked my vets to pose for a photo with any of my dogs, and I’ve never taken any with other people or pets in them.

    • Actually, I could see pictures of actual procedures being very helpful. If my vet told me Honey needed chemo, I have no idea what that entails. I would also have found it helpful to see what an ultrasound scan looks like before my dog needed to have one.

      But it’s the kind of thing that requires just the right circumstances to pull off.

  9. I’ll take i phone photos of my dogs at the vet’s while we are alone in the exam room. There have been times when I’ve wanted to share a (healthy, happy) dog I see in the waiting room on Instagram. However, I know that I can’t explain the situation without feeling like a crazy person, so I just smile at them instead.

    • I understand the desire to get interesting shots of other people and their dogs and just can’t bring myself to ask.

      We actually have lots of interactions with children but I’d never take pics of someone else’s kids to put online. Which means everyone is missing out on a whole lot of adorable.

  10. The thought never crossed my mind to take pix at the vet’s. I’m busy making sure the dog(s) are calm and cuddled. Our two also consider a visit to the vet’s a happy event. Doggie friends, and vet techs to fawn over them. What’s not to love?

    • It is such a blessing to have dogs who enjoy the vet, isn’t it?

      None of mine have minded it terribly. But it’s always easier when our dogs look forward to something.

  11. I’ve thought about it before, but my time talking to my vet is pretty valuable and if I requested to take some pictures, it would mean less time to discuss other things that are much more important to me. I agree that it also could put the vets and vet techs behind schedule or cause them to cut their next appointment a few minutes short and maybe miss something important with their next client.

  12. I’m with you. Usually there are some terrified cats and some freaked out dogs that don’t need the added stress of cameras. Besides, who can handle a nosey, busy-body poodle who is curious about everything and everybody in our vet’s small wait area, holding a handbag, leash AND camera with two hands. Yup, not me. :)

  13. I’m one of those that do. I always ask first and we’ve been going there so long, they know how bat sh*t crazy I am and that I write a blog. I don’t take them every single time, but I do take them when something new is happening, like when Sampson was getting acupuncture or having his head shaved. I think I have one of Delilah getting her anal sack expressed too, but you are welcome, I’ve kept that one to myself. :-) It was one of those pictures I didn’t want, but somehow just happened.

  14. I agree. The vets and their staff are busy helping all the patients. They don’t need anyone getting in the way or slowing them down.

  15. I’ve only taken a photo at the vet once, when ludo was a puppy, I was taking the rabbits in for a routine vacination, I asked the vet If I could bring Ludo for a bit of socialisation so he doesn’t always think something horrible would happen to him in there. While the vet did his thing i took a shot of ludo grinning beside me. I also used the photo to highlight the need to vaccinate rabbits.
    However, i wouldn’t take one routinely, for all the reasons you’ve listed really.

    • It’s so great that you took the time to socialize Ludo to the vet before he got shots or needed to give blood or anything else nasty or scary. How clever.

      But I don’t know how in the world you managed a puppy, rabbits, and a camera at the same time. :)

  16. The dogs are stressed, I’m often stressed, and I also don’t want to bother anyone with it. It’s bad enough I might ask my vet 10 more questions because I plan to write about it on the blog. Besides, with enclosed offices and no natural light, I can’t imagine I could take a decent picture anyway!
    I’m not good at multi-tasking, but I know other people are. I hope they make their photos available for my use on the internet when I need a vet office related photo. :)

    • “I’m not good at multi-tasking, but I know other people are. I hope they make their photos available for my use on the internet when I need a vet office related photo.”


  17. I’ll take one outside the office, while we’re waiting in the waiting room, or waiting in the exam room. None of the staff is around and it’s just Nola, so it doesn’t bother me. Can’t imagine taking one of her with her vet, though!

  18. I can only think of one time when I’ve taken pictures at the vet’s office. Actually, it was a video of Ducky CALMLY checking out the exam room before the vet even entered it. And I took that video for me. It was the day of her first visit after she had started going to daycare. The visit before that was just before she started daycare and she had been a basket of anxieties. This visit was such a turnaround that I had to have proof of it for me.

    Otherwise, I’m like you — my job is to take care of my dog (whichever one is with me) and listen to and interact with the vet. I can’t do that and multitask with my phone’s camera. Besides, I hate multitasking. To quote a favorite MASH line “I do one thing at a time. I do it very well. And then I move on.”

    • I can see how Ducky being calm in the exam room would be a red letter day for you. Good you caught video confirmation.

      And yes, that’s one of my favorite MASH lines too. :)

  19. No, I’ve never taken photos at the vets for all the reasons you listed. I usually don’t even take photos of my dog’s injuries. Once Frankie got stung on the face by a bee and one side of his face swelled up. He actually looked quite comical but I couldn’t take a photo of his misery. I suppose if I thought someone else might benefit from seeing photos of a particular injury I would, or if it would come in handy in case the injury ever happened again. I prefer happy photos :) I see enough heartbreaking stuff on Facebook.

    • My husband read somewhere that dogs feel humiliation. He’d probably say you were right not to take pics of Frankie’s bee sting because it would just make him feel bad.

      I don’t know if that’s true. But it’s something my husband tosses out every so often.

  20. Yes, we take photos at the vet. Sometimes just a shot with the phone cam, sometimes the real camera, but usually it is just us pets with some vet office stuff in the background. It is easy to do and we use the photos to talk about the importance of the vet visits. Our vets know I have a blog and they don’t mind if they happen to be in a photo, but we try to keep humans off the blog as much as possible. I’m a nervous mess at the vet, and since I love the camera, it actually helps me focus on something else besides where I am if Mom starts snapping pics.

    • Since you’re so used to being a model, Emma, I can see how taking pics at the vets might help you.

      But I bet doing nose work would distract you even more. :)

  21. I have taken photos at the vets before, but I usually just snap a real quick one, and thats the extent of it.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  22. I’ve only done it on my camera phone when we’ve been in the room waiting by ourselves for more than twenty minutes and things were getting boring for all of us!

    • Wow, 20 minutes is a long wait. Maybe they had an emergency in another room?

      We used our last long wait to work on Honey’s trick of shutting cupboard doors. It’s a fun way to kill time.

  23. I don’t take pictures at the vet but the techs usually come around with a camera while we are waiting in the exam room & take pictures which they post on facebook only with my permission. It doesn’t interfere with anyone else & I don’t mind as long as I’m not in the picture. For big events like dental or wellness they take several pictures & print copies which I keep in my “Pet Binder”

    • That’s interesting that your vet is so social media savvy. Many aren’t.

      But I bet people love seeing their pets on the FB page.

  24. I’ve taken waiting room pics, but never in the actual examination room. I find it rude.

    I am a (human) healthcare professional. I would get irritated by people interrupting me or my time for photo ops. Perhaps that is why I don’t.

  25. I do occasionally take photo at the vet, but always without any other people in the photo, and while the vet is either busy measuring out medication or has left the room for a few seconds. I use my phone to take photos, so it only takes a couple of seconds to take a photo. I only do it when I think my dog is being particularly cute, or if I want to tell the story of what happened somewhere online and want to include a photo.

    I do agree with you though, photos at the vet can be really bad and inconvenient, and I would never do it in a way that held up the vet or other staff, or included other people’s pets (who may be really ill), and I try not to include strangers in my photos.

  26. I have taken a photo or two of the Boys with Doodle Doc. It didn’t slow the examination process up at all. Once I did an interview on vet tech week and then again for pet dental health month, but I emailed her first and we purposely were her last appointment. She knows I’m a blogger and is always willing to help with various subject post ideas. I will truly miss her and the entire staff.