There are still many pet owners who believe an annual trip to the vet's office for a checkup is all the care their dog or cat needs beyond food, water, and the occasional bath.
This attitude is frustrating to many veterinarians, who know there is a lot more involved in keeping pets fit, healthy and safe.
Most companion animals don't require the time or effort children do, however, they need more care and attention than many pet parents give them.
But don't expect your pet's vet to share his feelings with you.
Pet doctors, like the majority of people doctors, aren't comfortable telling patients what they're really thinking. Your pet's veterinarian won't often tell you what she wishes you'd do more or less of in the care of your animal.
A few things your vet might be thinking but not saying:
- "Your pet is too heavy and the extra weight is harming her health."
- "I wish you'd checked with me before you got a pet. I could have helped you understand how much time, money and energy is involved in pet ownership."
- "Please pay close attention to your pet's symptoms – write them down if you can -- and be prepared to describe them in detail. It will help me narrow my focus and get to a diagnosis sooner."
- "Let me show you how to brush your pet's teeth so you can do it daily or at least several times a week. It will make a huge difference in her health and the quality of her life."
- "Don't allow your pet to be over-vaccinated. Don't be talked into the need for unnecessary vaccinations by a vet, a boarding facility or any other pet care establishment."
Unfortunately, when a veterinarian avoids advising a pet owner about what he or she could do better in caring for a beloved pet, an opportunity is missed. The animal's health and quality of life will suffer, and future costly medical intervention is almost assured.