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Animals in healthcare facilities: Pet visits

Animals in healthcare facilities

Pet visits

This information has been translated into other languages - see the links at the bottom of this page

Pets are welcome to visit in Alberta Health Services facilities. A visit from a pet can be good for a patient’s health and well-being.

When you bring a pet for a visit, you are responsible for that pet and anything the pet does at the healthcare facility.

For everyone’s safety, follow this guidance for pet visits.

General information

Before bringing a pet into a healthcare facility:

  • Get approval from the department manager before the pet visits.
  • Make sure the pet is healthy, calm, well behaved, and housetrained.
  • Put the pet on a leash or in a carrier.

During the visit:

  • Allow only you and the patient you’re visiting to have contact with the pet.
  • Wash your hands before and after touching the pet.
  • Stay with the pet for the entire visit.
  • Clean up any pet accidents (poop or pee) if they happen.
  • Put a towel or pad on the patient’s bed or lap for the pet to sit on.
  • Make sure the pet does not get in the way of the patient’s treatment. It must not touch any of the patient’s medical devices, electrical or other invasive lines, catheters, or wounds.
  • Take the pet home if it gets stressed or nervous. (Do not leave the pet alone in your vehicle. You will be reported.)

Service dogs and guide dogs

A qualified service or guide dog team is the dog owner and the service or guide dog. The team has the legal right to enter public spaces. They can go anywhere the public goes. Learn more at Service Dogs in Alberta.

Volunteer animals

Some animals are registered with Alberta Health Services Volunteer Resources. They have been screened to meet certain criteria. These animals and their owners visit many patients for animal therapy.

To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=custom.ab_pet_visitation_guide_inst.

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Animals in healthcare facilities: Pet visits

For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: August 30, 2023

Author: Infection Prevention and Control, Alberta Health Services

This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.