Our latest blog post comes from our smiling face at reception, Lindsey. She writes about some common myths, mistakes and misunderstandings in veterinary medicine and what you can do to avoid these pitfalls!
Top 5 Common Myths and Misunderstanings in Veterinary Medicine
During the past 3+ years I have worked at All West Vet, I have seen, heard and learned a lot. I realized that there are common mistakes that we all make when owning a beloved pet. The oversights are often due to our love for our pets, and so I have tried to compile the top 5 universal myths and mistakes we often make so we can all learn and laugh.
‘He’s not fat, he’s big boned!’
Unfortunately, more than half of the pets in American households are overweight or even obese! Because the majority of dogs and cats are packing on extra pounds these days, our minds are fooled into thinking this is normal. This can be difficult to see when you look at your pet every day, that’s why you should count on your veterinary team to help you determine a healthy weight for your pet. Your veterinarian can assess your pet with an objective tool such as the Healthy Weight Protocol to give you an accurate idea of what your pet’s weight should be, as well as a specific diet plan to get you to that healthy goal.
‘I only go to the vet when my pet is sick.’
Animals are tremendous masters of disguise; they don’t want to inconvenience us by letting us know they feel poorly. In some species, especially exotics, not showing illness is actually a defense mechanism. Sometimes, by the time owners notice signs of illness, a pet has been sick for quite some time. Annual preventative care exams allow you to catch diseases like arthritis and renal disease much earlier in the process, saving you money and your pet pain and stress.
‘The pet store employee told me to change pet food.’
Choosing a pet food can be confusing. Meanwhile, the person at the pet food store, even with the best intentions, doesn’t know your pet’s medical history the way your vet does. If your veterinarian recommends a specific diet for your pet, there’s usually an excellent reason. Diet plays a key role in your pet’s health, so make sure to include their number one health advocate in that decision.
‘Don’t be scared; give him a cookie!’
When a pet is exhibiting a fearful behavior, such as growling or snapping, it can be tempting to try and calm them down with attention. But rewarding a fearful pet with hugs, food and consolation can actually worsen the behavior by reinforcing it. If this behavior worsens over time, a pet might actually wind up in a shelter, and aggressive pets have lower chances of being adopted. If your pet shows any signs of fear or aggression, talk to a certified trainer, or your veterinary behaviorist ASAP!
‘My dog doesn’t need a leash, he’s trained!’
It’s important to be a good dog ambassador by obeying local dog ordinances about leashes and cleaning up after your pup. When you visit your vet, keeping your pet on leash is best no matter how nice your dog may be. You never know how other dogs will be, especially ones that are not feeling well. If you live in an area where leashes are required by law, you should obey that law without fail. Many people – and even dogs – are frightened of other dogs, and they can be very distressed by being approached by any canine, even a very friendly one. There are designated areas where dogs can run off leash, so if your dog is feeling the call of the wild, find a dog park and let loose!