Of late, there are an awful lot of “pet peeves of veterinarians” going around online. Want to drive dog owners crazy? Well, veterinarians sometimes do this, too! I have a major love and respect for veterinarians who truly have the interests of their pet clients at heart: Vets who are underpaid, work long hours, never know what is coming through the door most times, and have to deal with personalities and pets with any number of ailments. That said, it disheartens this writer/dog mom to see so many negative posts about less than stellar pet parents online. Just as not all pet parents are created equal, the same holds true for veterinarians.
In the vein of “can’t we all get along,” there’s got to be a place where veterinarians who care and pet parents who care can meet and agree that first and foremost, put the best interests of the pet at the forefront. Here then are 10 things veterinarians do that drive dog owners crazy *
* You may not even realize this is crazy, but if your dog’s veterinarian is doing any of these things, question him or her on the spot.
(10) Requiring Your Dog Must Have Yearly Vaccinations
Am I anti-vaccine? No. Dogs need proper vaccination. Am I anti over vaccination? Absolutely. Diligent dog parents should have a discussion with their dog’s vet about potential adverse reactions. You absolutely do NOT need to re-vaccinate (give “boosters”) automatically. A veterinarian who refuses to have a discussion about the dog’s overall vaccination schedule and what is in that dog’s best interests is not a veterinarian I would visit.
Click to read more about: Dogs and Vaccines: Yes or No?
(9) Insisting You Must Buy The Food They Sell
If your dog has a condition or health issue that requires a specific food and your veterinarian is the only place where you can get that food, then by all means follow doctor’s orders. Many veterinary practices have food and other items for sale in office. You are not required to buy the food from the practice unless it is convenient and/or you choose to support the practice overall. I sometimes make purchases of treats while at the vet’s office as a reward for my dog. If the veterinarian tells you that typical over-the-counter foods are not available elsewhere, do a little investigating.
(8) Your Dog Must Stay Overnight
It’s what you are not being told that scares me to no end. Sometimes, dogs must stay overnight, but who is watching your dog during those critical hours? In some cases, no one is there. Many veterinary practices do not have the staff nor budget to have someone present around the clock. As of this writing, there is no written law that requires a veterinary facility to have a staff member on site to monitor animals overnight who had surgery that day. Many pet parents believe someone is present, and this is not the case.
Click to read more: Who Watches Your Dog Overnight at the Veterinarian
(7) Not Explaining Fancy Words and Medical Jargon
Please for the love of all things dog, if you toss medical terminology at us, do so with a followup explanation in English. I love medical terminology, have studied it, and even have a background in it, but the general population does not. Just tell us in simple terms what those test results mean.
(6) Treating My Dog Like a Wild Boar
I’ve only personally experienced one veterinarian who did this (or at least attempted to do this)…and I promptly left the office and never returned. Dogs are smart animals; they remember smells and sounds, and yes they remember experiences. Applying any sort of Cesar Milan techniques to my dog is grounds for me and my dog to leave in that moment. Placing a muzzle on my dog because “well, I’ve heard this breed bites” or “I was once bitten by this breed” doesn’t cut it either.
I absolutely advocate for the safety of the veterinarian and his or her staff. Click to read more about Why Does My Dog Need a Muzzle.
(5) Telling You They Do Not 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) Yelling at Dogs
In my decades of dog ownership, nothing makes me cringe more and want to burst through the “back room” doors than hearing a barking dog, who is obviously kenneled, being told to “shut up” and perhaps even have the cage smacked at. I know a barking dog might grate on someone’s nerves. As a veterinary professional, you must have to deal with so many situations and the stress level is obviously high. You don’t need to scream at dogs who are barking nor smack at their cages. Yes, I’ve witnessed both and yes, I’ve reported both to office staff. If a dog is already under stress, stuck in a kennel for his or her own safety, anyone who screams or yells at that dog or smacks at his cage is wrong! Wrong! WRONG!
(3) Listen to Pet Parents: We Often Know More Than You (About Our Dogs)
Professionals in the veterinary field have the degrees and hopefully, continual training. Pet parents have the one-on-one with their dogs and often times, we have that parental “sense” that something isn’t right. Cases in point:
* From a human perspective, my wife was rushed to the emergency room last month, doubled over with severe abdominal pain. After waiting five hours to be seen, the doctor on call dubbed it a “muscle pull” and refused any further tests. We insisted on a CAT Scan. He was very annoyed, expressed that this was wasting the hospital’s money, and stormed out. She did get the CAT Scan two hours later, which showed a kidney stone lodged in her ureter. It required surgical intervention. Sometimes ignorance and attitude take over in the medical profession.
* I recall my last Cocker Spaniel jumping off the bed one night, as dogs do, She immediately began limping. We took her to a nearby emergency animal clinic who insisted it was a muscle pull. The on-call aviary (bird) doc told me to keep her off of it and she’d recover just fine. He refused an x-ray and injected her with a steroid that was three times too strong for her small body. She became a very sick little girl, and on later x-ray it was determined her patella had luxated (kneecap shifted). Frustrating.
Insist on what you know is right: Be kind, be firm, and be the dog parent your pet needs you to be.
(2) Refusing (not Acknowledging) A Specialist Is Needed
I know that times are tough. I read study after study that pet parents are making less and less visits to the veterinarian’s office.
Imagine this scenario: You are at the veterinarian with your dog because the dog has bloody diarrhea. Despite all the best efforts, medicines of the traditional and non-traditional variety, and testing the vet can do in office, things just don’t seem to be changing for the dog.
Which of the following would put you more at ease and help your dog in the long run:
A veterinarian who does not take offense to a second opinion requested by the client;
A veterinarian who suggests the client get a second opinion and/or refers to the client to a specialist;
Both of the above are correct with the dog’s best interests in mind.
A second opinion happens when seeking medical advice from an equally credentialed vet while a referral deals with sending the client to a specialist. It is incredibly scary to ask for a second opinion if you believe your dog’s regular veterinarian will be offended or get upset.
Some veterinarians will help clients make the second opinion visit or you may choose to do it yourself.
Read more about how to say no to the veterinarian.
(1) Bullying Pet Parents Into Euthanasia
This is a very hot topic and a very personal one to me: I had to make the dreaded decision to end my dog’s suffering when western and eastern medicine could not help her any longer. There is a thought process that “you will know when it is time” to let a dog go. Or “You will see it in their eyes.”
Having interviewed hundreds of grieving pet parents over the years along with dozens of veterinary professionals, I can honestly put my writing reputation on the line and say this is not always the case.
This is one of the most concise articles on deciding if and when to humanely euthanize your loving family dog.
A kind and loving veterinarian will not bully you or prod you into making this decision; they will understand your emotional attachment and if you need to spend time considering all options; they will not tell you that your dog should be “put down”if you don’t feel ready.
A kind and loving veterinarian will talk to you about the process, explain what will happen, and be there for you ever step of the way. It is a tortuous decision for most dog moms and dog dads, so saying a temporary physical goodbye to a beloved family member should not be taken lightly. Do it when it feels right for you and the dog. Get a second opinion…and a third…and see a specialist. Don’t have regret later.
Finding a good veterinarian with whom you can foster a relationship for you and your dog is worth its weight in golden dog biscuits. Read this: How to Find a Good Veterinarian for Your Dog. You and your dog will be happy in the long run. For all the caring, dedicated veterinarians, we raise our sparkling water bowls to you in gratitude, and that includes Dexter’s vet!
Do you have a good relationship with your vet? Ever have issues with a veterinarian that made you uncomfortable?