What to do: ED physician brought dog to work


I am a student completing my clinical hours in the ED. There is a "box" that the MD sit in to chart" This is pretty open for all to see.I noticed that the physician brought a dog crate in and kept the dog a small terrier with him all day.. The dog was very good and never once barked, and everyone was picking her up.. It was pet therapy for staff, but my concern is for any patient who may be allergic to dogs and violation of the infection control policy. What would you do?


186 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

As a guest in their ED, I would do nothing. Actually, I would probably see if I could play with the dog, if I'm being honest.


2 Posts

I shold also add that I am a Director in the inpatient secto rof the same hosptial and am doing Doctoral school hours in the ED.. so that may impact the discussion

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

I think pets have no place in a professional, open to the public environment. Service animals? Sure! Pets? No way!

Has 33 years experience.

If you were that concerned about the nasty germy animal, why did you not say something to the physician?

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

What are the regulations from the Health Dept regarding animals in the hospital? I would think that would be all the answer you need.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,474 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

Is there really any risk? I would stay out of it.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

OMG - we have pet therapy programs in some of our larger facilities ... very popular with everyone. Sure, there are rules & regs to follow, but as a rule clinicians tend to be much more concerned about the non-issues.

A co-worker has been involved in Service Dog training for quite some time. Her (totally volunteer) job is to train the 'adolescent' dogs to interact in public areas, so she always has one of them with her (office environment). Part of the preparation was orientation for all of us. e.g., do not feed the dog, do not pet when s/he is wearing his working 'vest', etc. Everyone loves it. She maintains the dog's Facebook account to keep everyone up to date on what's happening. We all celebrate when "our" puppy achieves a milestone.

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

We have pet therapy as well. The animal is NOT kept in a cage under a desk all day, has regular vet visits to assure health, and required immunizations.

This is not a pet therapy or service animal.


161 Posts

Specializes in Nasty sammiches and Dilaudid.

I find it amusing that you're concerned about a well-behaved and probably well-groomed dog but will throw open the ER doors for all manner of infectious disease carriers, homeless people who haven't bathed in months, and anyone else who can con EMS into giving them a ride. Sure, animals on a unit like oncology or post-transplant ICU where most/all of the pt's are immunocompromised might not be a hot plan but in the ED? Sure since they're probably better-behaved and waaaay less demanding than most of the patients.

MunoRN, RN

8,058 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 10 years experience.

My facility allows patient's pets to visit, just like any other visitor they are expected to be well behaved. I think people often falsely assume dogs are a health hazard, which there really isn't any evidence to support.

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

It is probably safer to the patients than the ones that bring in their poorly behaved children, babies with diarrhea, kids with snotty noses.

I have to wonder about coworkers that would bring their newborns onto a immunosuppression floor or infectious disease unit. Or they will have toddlers with them, playing on the floor or going through trash cans/linen drops, while coworker is blithely chitchatting away.