Pet Visitation

Pets and Emotional Support Dogs: Required Planning for a Visit to VUMC

The Medical Center’s priority is to provide a safe and clean environment for the patients we serve. Any visit of a personal pet dog or emotional support (ES) dog must be pre-planned with the Unit or Clinic Manager.

Animal visits can be helpful for patients. However, advance arrangements are required for all VUMC sites: inpatient, procedural and clinic areas.

Only dogs are allowed to visit. A current vaccination record must be provided upon request.

Animals, including Service Animals, are not allowed in:

  • ICUs;
  • Myelosuppression units;
  • Procedural areas: Operating Rooms, endoscopy suites, cath labs, holding rooms, and PACU’s;
  • Isolation precaution rooms;
  • Departments where the animal cannot be shielded from the treatment such as radiology, radiation therapy, MRI, etc.;
  • Any area where visitors are restricted or required to wear gowns, gloves, or masks prior to entry. 

Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis and ONLY with the approval of Infection Prevention.

Before the pet or ES dog visits:

  • Plan the visit with the Unit/ Clinic Manager.
  • Bathe the dog within 24 hours before the visit.
  • Trim the dog’s nails; don’t leave any sharp edges.

While at VUMC:

  • Keep the dog with you at all times.
  • The dog must be leashed or in a carrier during the visit.
  • Take the dog outside to eat, drink or “go.” You are responsible for cleaning up if an accident happens.
  • The dog must leave the facility if a potential infection risk is apparent (i.e., unbathed or not trained to eliminate outside) or if exhibiting any stressed, agitated, or aggressive behaviors.