How Much to Tip a Veterinarian or Vet Tech
They are on hand to answer questions about medications, treat minor and major injuries and illnesses, and perform wellness exams. The true depth of their work cannot be overstated.
- Veterinarians train for many years and are often skilled in multiple techniques when it comes to assessing and treating animals.
- Vet techs are the workhorses of the veterinary profession. If your pet toilets on the floor, they’re on it. If your pet needs a nail trim, they’re on it. If it’s time to let your pet cross the rainbow bridge, chances are it’s a vet tech who’s going to be there to hold your hand (and then cry after you leave).
Do you tip veterinarians or vet techs?
No, there is no need to tip your pet’s veterinarian or other vet staff.
Honestly, they might even think it’s weird or insulting. “Tipping veterinarians is not done,” says Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD. “I’d say the same for vet staff. Would you tip your physician or nurse? No. We want to be paid for our expertise in a professional matter.”
Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, a veterinarian with nearly 3 decades of experience, says that in all those years she has never received a cash tip. It’s simply not a thing — “hand on heart,” she swears.
However, Dr. Elliott happily shares that she has received “heartfelt cards expressing how much the care meant to them, their pet and the family. I keep all those cards and have a large cardboard box overflowing with them, filed away in a bookshelf.”
How much to tip vet staff?
Tipping in cash is out. But some grateful pet parents find lovely ways to show their appreciation that don’t involve awkwardly nudging a few dollar bills across the counter.
For example, they bring in a fruit or bakery platter or a gift basket. These types of “tips” are always appreciated by vet staff.
“There’s a recent trend for cards featuring photos of the pet,” says Dr. Elliott. “This is especially touching after the euthanasia of an older pet, when the picture shows the pet in their prime.”
“Other great gifts include cakes — some of which are iced with personal messages or even edible photos of the pet,” she says. “Chocolates and alcohol are also popular.”
You could also consider making a gift donation: “Some people are so appreciative of our care — such as with an involved cancer case, emergency surgery, etc. — that they ask to make a donation,” says Dr. Lichtenberg.
That’s the reason she established a fund in honor of Dino, a Cocker Spaniel patient. The dog’s person made a contribution to the hospital, “and the Dino fund was used to help well-meaning, responsible owners who had fallen on hard times or could not afford life-saving treatment,” Dr. Lichtenberg says.
What about tipping for at-home vet care?
Tipping a mobile veterinarian is optional and unexpected — but not unheard of.
“Vet staff sometimes make house calls, like a visiting nurse. They charge a fee, but sometimes a client will offer them a little extra for going the extra mile. I think this is acceptable,” explains Dr. Lichtenberg.