Veterinarians truly want to do what’s best for the pets in their care, but sometimes owners do things that make the otherwise rewarding career of being a vet frustrating or disheartening. You try to give your dog the best care possible while being a good person in the process, but sometimes your love for your dog may cloud your vision and cause you to say or do things that drive your veterinarian crazy. Are you guilty of doing any of the things on this list? Rather than get defensive, you might want to analyze your behavior and try to see things from the vet’s perspective. They generally aren’t trying to rip you off or hurt your dog, so it may be worth reconsidering some of your responses to the person in charge of keeping your dog healthy. That being said, here are 10 things you may be doing that make your vet crazy.
#1 – Denying that your dog is overweight
More than half of all dogs are overweight or obese, and just like in humans, obesity in dogs comes with an increased risk of developing a wide range of health problems that can negatively impact and even shorten your dog’s life. Some of the health problems associated with canine obesity include painful arthritis; type 2 diabetes; high blood pressure; heart, respiratory, or kidney disease; and even cancer.
When your vet tells you that your dog is overweight, they aren’t lying or trying to shame you. They truly have your dog’s best interests at heart when they suggest that your dog should lose some weight. Your vet should give you suggestions on how to safely help your dog shed some pounds.
#2 – Asking your vet to commit insurance fraud
Asking your vet to falsify any information in order for you to collect on your dog’s pet insurance benefits is asking them to break the law. At the very least, they are putting their credibility and license on the line. No respectable veterinarian will be willing to conspire to commit fraud, and even though you would be willing to do anything to be able to afford to care for your ill or injured dog – committing fraud shouldn’t be included on your list of “anything.”
#3 – Calling the clinic shortly before close on a Friday when your dog has been having symptoms for 3 days
Emergencies happen, and that’s why emergency clinics are open outside of regular hours to accommodate problems that can’t wait until the next business day. However, if your dog has been vomiting, having diarrhea, or displaying other severe symptoms for several days but you wait until the last minute on a Friday to ask your regular vet to squeeze you in so that you can avoid the expense of the emergency vet, they won’t be very happy with you. Likely, other staff need to stay behind in addition to the vet, so now you’re asking multiple people to delay their weekend because you waited so long to decide your very ill dog needed care. That’s just rude. Obviously, if your dog experiences an emergency late on a Friday afternoon, your vet and their staff will feel differently about sticking around to help you out.
#4 – Disagreeing with a diagnosis because Google or a friend said it was probably something else
Why would you take your dog to a veterinarian if you didn’t trust their medical opinion? While Google, your breeder, a Facebook friend, or somebody else may have suggested a plausible diagnosis for your dog, your veterinarian is the one with extensive education and years of experience to guide them toward a proper diagnosis. Yes, sometimes vets make mistakes, but they are more likely to be right than anybody who isn’t a DVM.
#5 – Failing to warn them your dog may bite…
Maybe you think that vets and vet techs assume that all dogs will bite. Maybe you think they’re paid to be bitten by dogs. Maybe you think this will be the one time your dog won’t try to bite the vet. No matter what your reasoning is, it really isn’t fair to withhold the information that your dog has been known to bite. Even small dog bites can become infected and cause serious, long-term health issues, and allowing somebody to take that risk because you’re too embarrassed (or whatever) to admit that your dog may bite really isn’t fair.
#6 – …Or insisting your dog won’t bite when their body language suggests otherwise.
The words “He doesn’t bite” will put any pet professional on edge, especially since those words are often followed by the dog indeed snapping at somebody. If your dog truly doesn’t bite, there’s no need to say anything. If your dog is showing body language that suggests they may bite, the veterinarian is going to listen to the dog’s body language rather than your words anyway. Any dog bite can become infected, so asking somebody to take risks because your dog hasn’t bitten anybody before isn’t well received.
#7 – Ignoring their advice
This comes back to trusting your vet. They don’t give advice just because they like the sound of their own voice; they have your dog’s best interests at heart. So when they suggest you do something to improve or maintain your dog’s quality of life but you refuse to follow their advice, it can be incredibly frustrating. If you won’t listen to what the vet says, why go in the first place? It’s okay to get a second opinion, but ignoring your vet’s advice may put your dog’s health and life at risk.
#8 – Asking them to do something for free or a severely reduced price
Yes, veterinary care is very expensive. Many people have a difficult time affording the best vet care for their pets. Unfortunately, vets have a business to run, and they can’t keep the lights on or afford to pay their staff if they give out free or severely reduced prices to everybody who asks. Some vets may be able to work out payment plans; some vets may operate on such a thin budget that they can only take payment up front. Either way, they aren’t trying to screw you out of your hard-earned money or threaten the life of your pet with treatments you can’t afford – they’re trying to keep the doors of their business open so that they can continue to help other pets.
#9 – Insisting they perform a specific procedure or prescribe a certain medication
It’s one thing to ask your vet about the pros and cons of a certain procedure or medication, but insisting your vet do something they don’t recommend may be harmful to your dog’s health. Ask them why they don’t recommend the product or procedure and what they do recommend. They have your dog’s best interest at heart. You think you know what’s best for your dog, but it is worth respecting the opinion of the person with the medical degree.
#10 – Ignoring health problems for way too long
Sometimes you just can’t afford to take your dog to the vet, even when he seems to be suffering. Sometimes you’re just oblivious to a health problem that your dog is suffering from since dogs are masters at hiding their pain. Maybe you’ve noticed your dog has a problem but just don’t care enough to take him to the vet.
No matter the reasons, early diagnosis and treatment are critical for many health problems, and vets get frustrated when their treatment options become limited because an issue has been ignored for way too long. Their entire goal is to ease and prevent animals from suffering, so being presented with a dog who has been clearly suffering for quite a while is absolutely heartbreaking for your vet.
Most health problems only get more expensive the longer you wait to treat them, and you don’t want your dog to suffer, so take him to the vet as soon as reasonably possible when you discover that something seems to be wrong. You don’t want your dog to suffer any more than your vet does, right?
Remember, at the end of the day, all both parties have the same goal in mind: a happy and healthy life for your canine companion.