Pet Visitation Guidelines

DEFINITIONS

Service Animal – A “working animal” that has been specially trained to assist the visually, physically, or learning impaired patient and are exempt from Pet Visitation guidelines.

  • Service animals are allowed to be with their companion.
  • Provisions must be made by the patient and/or significant other to assign a responsible party for care of the service animal. It will not be the responsibility of the staff to feed, toilet, or maintain control of the animal.
Pet – A domesticated cat or dog that is owned by the patient or a significant other.

Pet Visit – The visit of the patient’s and/or significant other’s own pet for the purpose of improving the patient’s emotional well being if seriously ill, terminally ill or hospitalized on a long-term basis.

Handler
– A family member or significant other that knows or owns the visiting pet and is responsible for the animals care and behavior during the visit.

All animals including service animals on hospital property are required to:

  • Appear in good health and temperament
  • Be up to date on their immunizations
  • Be clean and well groomed, free of fleas, ticks, or other parasites
  • Be free of dermatological conditions.

Only dogs (1 year old or greater), and cats (6 months old or greater) are allowed to visit.  The pet must have been a family member for 6 months or greater to assure awareness of behavior patterns and immunizations.  Visitation of other animals must be pre-approved by Infection Prevention.  Reptiles will not be allowed to visit due to their high degree of contamination with salmonella.  Birds will also not be allowed to visit.

  • A physician’s order must be obtained for a pet visit a minimum of one day advance notice is required. 
  • The pet visit must be coordinated by the nurse to facilitate the best timing for maximum patient benefit and cleaning of the room after the visit. 
  • Unscheduled pet visits may be refused. 
  • The length of the visit will not exceed 1 hour.
  • All animals must have a handler in charge of them while on hospital property.
  • The handler will provide documentation of the animal’s up-to-date immunizations to include distemper, rabies, parvovirus, and leptospirosis.
  • The Pet Visitation Form (download here) will be completed by the handler 24 hours prior to the pet visit.
  • A nurse must be notified of the arrival of the pet to inspect animal.  If there are concerns about the pet’s behavior, grooming, or health the visit will be terminated.
  • The cat or dog must be groomed (bathed and brushed) within 24 hours of the visit and wear a T-shirt (if tolerated) to reduce the shedding of potential allergens or pathogens.
  • The cat or dog must be carried, transported in a clean animal carrier or on a short leash if too large for a carrier. 
  • The pet must remain leashed at all times in the hospital or outdoors.
  • No more than one pet may visit a patient at a time.   
  • Pet visits inside the hospital should occur in the patient’s private room with the door closed. 
  • The visit may occur on the patient’s bed, chair, or lap if there are no safety concerns. 
  • The patient’s hands will be washed after the visit.
  • Animals are allowed on main level of hospital only.
  • Animals are NOT allowed in the dining area, therapy gym, or isolation rooms.  
  • Only the patient and his/her visitors are allowed to interact with the animal.
  • Pets outside should not be allowed to interact with each other. 
  • No pet visits will occur directly outside the front door of the building.
  • If the animal has an accident on hospital property, the handler will clean up the accident and then housekeeping will be contacted for proper disinfection of the surface/area.
  • The visit may be terminated if concerns arise at any time.

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