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Like anyone, veterinarians have challenges in their profession. It’s not always cute puppies and kittens! In fact, veterinary medicine, while largely rewarding, can be a stressful field. Oftentimes, pet owners will cause issues for veterinarians, and get in the way of their pets’ care.
We asked our veterinary adviser, Dr. Bruce Little, DVM, what his biggest pet peeves are (pun intended) when dealing with patients. Here’s what he said:
Pet owners who don’t show up for appointments: Animal hospital schedules are ideally full from the time the hospital opens until the time it closes. When a scheduled appointment doesn’t show up, hospital staff are left with performing a different task to keep that space productive. One or more no-shows drastically interrupts the daily schedule, and productivity for the hospital is lost for that day.
Pet owners who show up late for appointments: Showing up late for an appointment can be even more distracting for animal hospital staff than no-shows. Pets that are late for their appointment can cause a schedule change for every following appointment of the day. Many times this will cause later scheduled appointments to infringe on subsequent scheduled appointments. This can cause client stress, especially if they have children to pick up at school or other family or work duties. It may also shorten the time spent with each pet that day.
Pet owners who are not aware of ideal pet weight, and think their pet is of normal weight when in fact it is overweight: Studies show that 58 percent of cats and 52 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. Yet, 90 percent of pet owners of these overweight pets believe their pets are at normal weight for that breed or age. This is not responsible pet ownership. Take your pet to the animal hospital for a checkup every year, and have it weighed to determine the weight it now carries. Your veterinarian will tell you how much weight is appropriate for your specific pet.
Pet owners who show up at the animal hospital with non-socialized pets: Puppies and kittens need to be socialized so they can be comfortable interacting with other pets and people. It’s important to socialize these pets early in their training period. If you adopt a pet at an older age that hasn’t been socialized with strange people or other pets, they can still be trained to accept others in their surroundings without showing signs of fear, aggression, or anxiety. Socialized pets make for a much smoother visit to the animal hospital, dog park, or groomer.
Pet owners who go to low-cost vaccination clinics and animal shelters, despite being able to afford regular costs: Increasingly, pet owners will utilize low-cost spay and neuter clinics or vaccination clinics to save on costs of getting their pet treated or vaccinated. This results in a gap in record keeping, visual examinations, and recommendations by a licensed and trained professional. Visits to the veterinarian provide opportunities to examine the pets and identify issues and problems where preventive measures can be implemented. Preventive medicine will both mitigate pain and suffering of the pet, and also lower the cost of treating the condition. If you visit a low-cost clinic and not your regular veterinarian, a potential health condition could be missed.
It’s recommended that you interact with your veterinarian the same way you would with a regular doctor. And make sure to bring your pet for a wellness visit once a year!