Do you have a great relationship with your dog’s veterinarian? If you answer yes, cherish and nurture that relationship and thank your lucky stars. For every 10 dog moms and dads I encounter who tell me they love their veterinarian, there are probably two or three who tell me horror stories. For those totally fantastic, caring veterinarians out there who are dedicated to dog health and reading this article, I commend and applaud you. If any of the following hits a nerve and you are a practicing veterinarian, please change. The dogs of this world depend on you, as do the majority of loving dog parents.
As an adult, I’ve had two dogs of my own but five regular veterinarians along the way, not including specialists for one thing or another. I’ve switched vets until I found the one that clicks with me and my dog. Dr. Gloates of Vetcetera treats my dog like he’s the client and I just happen to be in the room. He’s calm and caring, and I feel 100 percent comfortable if I have to leave Dexter there.
I am fed up with reading headline after headline from veterinarian-authored articles, proclaiming “10 Things Clients Do That Drive Vets Nuts” or “How Not to Be a Complete Jerk at the Vet’s Office.” I totally empathize and realize there are morons in the world who should not have the privilege of sharing life with a dog.
That said, here are some tips from the other side. If your vet says any of the following, question it, have a conversation about it, and then grab your dog’s leash, turn around, and run like a Greyhound as far away from that practice as humanly possible.
1. “All dogs must have yearly vaccinations”
Nope! Not only are standard yearly vaccinations unnecessary, but in many cases they are actually dangerous. Veterinarians who are giving out vaccinations like Willy Wonka passing out candy in the chocolate factory need a wake-up call.
There is no one set “protocol” for all dogs when it comes to vaccines. I am not anti-vaccine, but I am anti-overvaccination. As a dog mom whose own dog developed a mast cell tumor (cancer) at the site of yearly vaccines, I am now pro titers. These blood tests that assess a dog’s immunity can be a lifesaver. The immunity provided by many vaccines can last well beyond a year, sometimes even a lifetime.
If your vet refuses to talk about, does not offer a specific plan with your dog in mind, or finds the whole idea of “case-by-case basis” to develop a protocol for your dog’s vaccination needs senseless, then find a new veterinarian.
2. “Your dog must absolutely eat the food I am prescribing, which tastes like cardboard”
Nope. For dogs who become ill and are diagnosed with any number of ailments, there is always more than one type of food they can eat. Unless the veterinarian is a trained nutritionist and is current on aspects of alternative feeding practices, I find it offensive being told, “If your dog doesn’t eat this food, she’s going to die.”
3. “I don’t believe in alternative medicine”
Sigh. I am sure it gets grates on a vet’s nerves when clients come in and say, “I was reading online and found out blah blah blah.” Not everything we read online is true, but some of it is. When my previous Cocker Spaniel suffered from three to four urinary tract infections a year and antibiotics were the routine course of treatment, I knew something had to change. After talking to dog moms whose pooches had similar issues and researching this on my own, I found out that cranberry is often helpful for dogs (and people) suffering from UTIs. Brandy’s vet at the time passed it off as bunk and recommended we see a specialist who would operate on her bladder. This did not seem right to me, and the cranberry caps trial began. She lived the rest of her life without a UTI, and I let the vet know it. “Just lucky I guess,” was her response. See ya!
4. “There’s no staff available to check on your dog overnight”
This is complete and utter grounds for dismissal. Case in point: When my dog required surgery for an eye condition, I felt confident someone would check on her. When I picked her up the next day, she had a mound of dried blood on her face. I questioned this and the veterinarian became annoyed, stating that they “could not watch her 24/7.” I wanted to scream and shake this vet, but I refrained. I did what any loving pet parent would: I asked him if he would do the same to his child and never returned to that practice.
5. “Don’t visit the hospital”
It has been proven that dogs recover faster and their spirits improve when they are able to convalesce with their family. Please respect my wishes to cheer my dog up and come visit. A friend of mine has a dog who underwent extensive surgery for a life-threatening condition. Amazingly, the veterinarian asked her not to visit. He would have staff call her when they had time.
What a sad state of affairs we are in when a medically trained individual finds it normal to say this to someone who is in obvious distress. I am happy to report my friend’s dog recovered, and she let the higher ups at the hospital know how she was treated. Respect my dog’s recovery and my need to visit.
I am sending a major cyber hug to the veterinarians who care and respect pet parents day in and day out. For those who feel a nerve touched in reading this, please do better.
Have you ever been fed up with a veterinarian? Have any of these things happened to you? Bark at me below in the comments!
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