We Americans loves our pets and we're not afraid to show it—especially with our pocketbooks. The American Pet Products Association estimates that total pet expenditures for 2015 was $60.50 billion, up from $58.04 billion the year before. A large portion of that total, $15.73 billion went to vet care while another $5.24 billion went to vet services like grooming and boarding.
Expectations for veterinary clinic cleaning is correspondingly high. Pet parents (yes, that's right. We no longer own our cats and dogs. We parent our fur babies) rightfully demand scrupulously clean interiors that are free of unpleasant smells. In fact, it's the first thing potential pet parents notice when visiting a potential veterinary practice. Is your facility the pick of the litter?
Sick as a Dog?
There are many potential health risks to pets visiting a veterinary clinic. Diseases like feline leukemia and parvo are both highly contagious and easily transferred in a veterinary setting. In fact, hospital-acquired infections are a growing problem for veterinary medicine, according to MediMedia Animal Health, which runs continuing education for vets.
The report states that organisms that cause these infections are readily found on surfaces like floors, walls, cages, equipment and countertops. In fact, these areas are more risky than human hospitals as animals will have frequent "accidents." This means that it's possible for a precious pet to get sick without even coming in contact with another animal.
Groom Your Interior
Veterinary clinic cleaning requires constant vigilance. Waiting areas and exam rooms, high traffic zones for both pets and their parents, are extremely important. They are the face of your operation; the place where potential customers will form their first impression.
Waiting areas need to be inviting and hair and odor free. Any accidents should be wiped up immediately. Exam rooms, including tables, countertops, seating and floors, need cleaning after every visit. Equipment like scales also require attention. Proper cleaning protocol in these areas will keep the number of hospital-acquired infections down.
Treatment areas, where hospitalized pets are kept, require even more rigorous cleaning as pet patients frequently have lowered immune systems. Take care to dilute any cleaning products correctly to avoid harming pets or veterinary staff. Isolation areas, where pets with highly contagious diseases are held, require the most attention. Improper cleaning may allow a recovering animal to re-ingest a virus and get sick again.
Kennels demand constant maintenance to keep them clean, safe and appealing to pet parents. Hair, spilled water and food should be removed as needed. Entire cages, not just the floor, need attention as well. Wipe down the floor, wall, ceiling and door.
Avoiding cross contamination is the most important part of veterinary clinic cleaning. Consider using a no-touch system to create a safe interior for both pets and their parents.
Click here for more tools to simplify veterinary clinic cleaning.
Image source: Flickr
Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines.
Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.
She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.