Identify and handle out-of-control veterinary clients


Protect yourself, coworkers and clients with these simple steps.

Maybe they're frustrated about their pet's health. Or they can't afford the care their pet needs. To protect yourself and your other clients, use these steps:

> Ask if you can continue the conversation later. Many clients will calm down if you say, "You're welcome to leave."

> Use phrases like "Just breathe for a minute" or "I know you're upset, just take a moment."

> Don't argue. Some clients will vent and wind down, especially if you empathize.

Be prepared to take immediate action if you notice these or other warning signs:

> You suspect drug or alcohol use.

> A client uses threats.

> A client seems to be getting angrier the longer he or she talks and won't stop.

Pay attention to words or body language. If the client is out of control, consider this advice:

> Stay in public areas. Make sure you're not alone with a violent person and grab a coworker as backup.

> Tell the client to leave. Stand your ground, and tell the client you will call the police.

Next, take the Practice Safety Bizquiz at Then learn more about confrontational clients at

Portia Stewart is a freelance writer in Lenexa, Kan.

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