"We're a vet hospital, not a dog hotel."
1. âPeople always ask, âHow do you handle pit bulls and rottweilers and big German shepherds?â The truth is, the dogs that scare me most are the little Chihuahuas. Theyâre much more likely to bite.ââMark Howes, DVM, owner and medical director of Berglund Animal Hospital in Evanston, Illinois
2. "We know when youâre twisting the facts. If your dog has a five-pound tumor hanging from his skin, please donât tell me it wasnât there yesterday.ââPhil Zeltzman, DVM, a traveling veterinary surgeon in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the author of Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound.
3. âMost hospitals keep comprehensive records of behaviorâof both your pet and you! If you are aggressive to the staff, you will be treated differently.ââOscar Chavez, DVM, program director for the vet tech program at California Polytechnic State University in Pomona, California.
4. âLooking for a way to say thank you to your vet? Last year, one pet owner gave us a check for $100, saying we could use it at our discretion for an animal in need. That was a wonderful gift.ââPatty Khuly, VMD, a vet in Miami, Florida.
5. âWeâre a vet hospital, not a dog hotel. People will get upset because their dog got a sheet instead of two fluffy blankets or because their dog didnât get hand-fed. Weâre just trying to get your dog better so he can come home and you can spoil him.ââJessica Stout-Harris, a vet tech who runs confessionsfromtheanimalshelter.com.
âThe reason your pet is fat is because you are too."
6. âThe reason your pet is fat is because you are too. I would never say that to someone in an exam room, but the fact of the matter is, if you have an owner who overeats and is inactive, they are very likely to have an obese pet.ââOscar Chavez, DVM.
7. âHereâs a pet peeve: owners who donât want to pay for diagnostic tests but then cop an attitude because you donât know whatâs wrong with the animal. Since you wouldnât let me do the blood work or X-rays, how the heck do you expect me to know?ââA vet in South Carolina.
8. âIf youâre visiting your pet in the hospital, and we say something along the lines of âOK, itâs time to let Fluffy sleep now,â often what we really mean is that youâre in our way, and weâre trying to treat other patients.ââJessica Stout-Harris.
9. âI understand the value of dog parks, but I personally wouldnât take my dog there. We see a lot of dogs who were injured at dog parks.ââRachel Simpson, a vet tech at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos, California.
10. âEvery time I save a life, every time I fix a patient, that makes everything worth it. And I love it when a client says, âI wish my physician would treat me as nice as you treat my pets.âââPhil Zeltzman, DVM.
"They still donât use painkillers."
11. âA lot of veterinarians have told me matter-of-factly that they still donât use painkillers for procedures that we know are painful. They think that dogs and cats donât need it or that feeling pain after surgery is good because it keeps them from moving around too much. But research has shown that pets who are in less pain heal faster, sleep better, and donât move around as much.ââDennis Leon, DVM, director at Levittown Animal Hospital in Long Island, New York.
12. âAt a veterinary meeting I attended, it came to light that more than half the vets there had not licensed their dogs, which is required by local law.ââPatty Khuly, VMD.
13. âYou should never give pets chocolate, because itâs toxic to most of them. But my cat is obsessed with it and is all over me when Iâm eating it, so sometimes I give her a sliver. Just an itsy-bitsy, tiny one.ââA vet in California.
14. âEvery time we help a pet, we help a person. The classic example is the 80-year-old grandma who has nothing in life but her cat. Sheâs a widow with very limited social contact, and the cat is what connects her to life. So when we help her cat, sheâs really the one weâre helping.ââPhil Zeltzman, DVM.
15. âWhen people surrender their pets because they canât afford their problems, I often end up with them. Iâve got a three-legged cat, a one-eyed cat, three dogs that required major surgeries, one goat, and 11 chickens.ââPatty Khuly, VMD.
"Your vet may not have gotten into vet school."
16. âSometimes we do things for free, just because we want to help the pet.ââSandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM, an internal medicine consultant in Seattle, Washington.
17. âNew staff or training students sometimes practice injections or catheter placements on your pet. If youâd rather not allow your pet to be used this way, make sure you say something beforehand.ââOscar Chavez, DVM.
18. âIâll let you in on the secret of no-kill shelters: We had a contract with our local Humane Society that stated weâd euthanize the animals in their care that needed to be put down. One Sunday, they sent us 72 cats to put down. By the end, we were all emotionally devastated.ââJessica Stout-Harris.
19. âBehavior issues are the No. 1 cause of pet re-homing, euthanasia, and death. Yet, because itâs not medical, most of us donât learn much about that in veterinary school.ââOscar Chavez, DVM.
20. âYour vet may not have gotten into vet school! Vets who canât get into traditional U.S. veterinary programs due to bad grades and poor test scores often go to for-profit schools in the Caribbean, where, basically, if you can pay the tuition, you get in.ââA vet in California.
"Your $2,000 designer dog is still a mutt."
21. âNo regulation says vets have to check certain lists before
they euthanize an animal, and lots of vets still do convenience
euthanasia for owners who prefer the easy way out. We see a lot of
euthanasia in November and December, for example, just because people
are getting ready for the holidays. I refuse to do it.ââOscar Chavez, DVM.
22. âI hate to break it to you, but your $2,000 designer dog is a mutt. Puppy stores and breeders have created these cute names like Morkipoos and Puggles, and now people are paying $2,000 for a dog they couldnât give away at the pound ten years ago. Whoever started the trend is a marketing genius.ââDennis Leon, DVM.
23. "I hate retractable leashes. The stopping mechanism pops open so easily, and suddenly the pet is flying to the end of it, and maybe itâs into the street or into the jaws of another dog. Iâve had people bring in a pet who got hit by a car because they were using a retractable leash and the stopping mechanism broke.ââBernadine Cruz, DVM, associate vet at
Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in Laguna Woods, California.
24. âEven though you see vitamins on the shelves in pet stores, healthy pets donât need them. The pet food companies have spent billions of dollars to make sure their food is properly balanced with every vitamin and mineral a pet needs.ââA vet in California.
25. âSome people are really into a raw-food diet for pets, but itâs a huge public health hazard. Think about it: You have raw meat, youâre touching it, your dog touches it, and then your dog goes and licks the baby. Iâve had two patients die and two patients get really sick from it.ââAmber Andersen, DVM, a vet at Point Vicente Animal Hospital in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
"If your animal is really sick, itâs better to bring him in during the morning."
26. âThe cheaper, over-the-counter spot-on flea and tick treatments are extremely dangerous. Iâve seen animals having violent seizures after using them; Iâve seen animals die. Ironically, most of these animals still have live fleas crawling all over them.ââA vet in California.
27. âAfter their kitten vaccinations, indoor cats donât really need to be vaccinated. Theyâre not going to get rabies sitting inside the house. Vaccines have the potential to create a lot of harm for cats, including possible tumors at the vaccine site.ââJill Elliot, DVM, owner of Holistic Vet in New York and New Jersey.
28. âA cold, wet nose on a dog does not necessarily mean heâs healthy. Iâve seen plenty of sick dogs with wet noses.ââMark Howes, DVM.
29. âThe biggest mistake pet owners make is calling the vet too late. Pets rarely get colds or the flu, and they almost never get food poisoning. So if theyâre sick for more than a day, call us.ââSandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM.
30. âIf your animal is really sick, itâs better to bring him in during the morning. A vet I once worked with would do a huge workup when a sick animal came in early. But if the animal came in late in the day, the vet would actually encourage the owner to euthanize. But I would add that this is not common.ââA vet in South Carolina.
"Some places give half doses of vaccines instead of full doses."
31. âUnfortunately, Iâve had to work in low-cost clinics, and
many of them are cutting corners to make a profit. Some places give half
doses of vaccines instead of full doses, which is totally illegal and
ineffective.ââA vet in California.
32. âThe vets who work for most corporate-owned vet hospitals are
paid monthly bonus checks based on how much money they bring in from
clients. So if it seems like you are paying more at one of those
hospitals, you likely are.ââJessica Stout-Harris.
33. âSome people worry that paying for pet insurance will be a
waste if they donât use it. But when you renew your fire insurance on
your house, do you say, âShoot, my house didnât burn down last yearâI
wasted all that moneyâ?ââPhil Zeltzman, DVM.
34. âIf we wanted to go into it for the money, weâd have become human doctors.ââOscar Chavez, DVM.
35. âMost vets put themselves through 8 to 12 years of school and
have huge student debts. We love animals and want to help them. Most of
us start our day early, finish late, and are available for
emergencies.ââPhil Zeltzman, DVM.
"Giving food is not giving love."
36. âWhen youâre looking for a new vet, always check out the staff. A lot of times theyâll be listed online. Look for technicians who are certified or licensed (theyâll have RVT, LVT or CVT after their names).ââMeiMei Welker, DVM,
outreach vet at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
37. âGiving food is not giving love. Obesity will hurt their health and decrease their life span. Instead, give affection. Pet them, brush them, love them, and walk them.ââBernadine Cruz, DVM.
38. âHome cooking for your pet is harder than you think. I once saw a dog who was fed a home-cooked diet of chicken breast and vegetables for a year, and his bones became so weak that his jaw broke. If you would like to cook for your pet, find a veterinary nutritionist who can help guide you, or check out balanceit.com.ââMonica Revel, DVM, a vet in West Hollywood, California.
39. âOne way to make sure your vet is up on the latest stuff? Ask what medications he uses for anesthesia. If he says he uses ketamine or halothane gas, thatâs not good. Thatâs like 1970s medicine. Isoflurane and sevoflurane are a lot safer.ââRachel Simpson.
40. âYou can go to an online pharmacy and get the same exact drugs you would get from your vet for 10 to 20 percent off. But check first to make sure itâs certified as a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS certified). Some vets will also match online pricesâyou just have to know to ask.ââPatty Khuly, VMD.
"Don't ever share your medicines with your pets!"
41. âJust because a food is premium priced doesnât mean itâs good
stuff. Thatâs especially true with many foods that come in those little
gourmet pouches or cans. You pay $3 a package, and itâs basically just
junk food with little nutritional value. Do some research, and have your
vet read the ingredients list with you.ââA vet in California.
42. âSome veterinary drugs have a generic version thatâs made for
humans, and if your vet believes itâs a safe and effective alternative,
you can get it from a human pharmacy and pay ten times less than youâd
pay for the animal version. But recognize that there are legitimate
reasons why the generic might not be appropriate for your pet.ââPatty Khuly, VMD.
43. âDonât ever share your medicines with your pets unless your vet says itâs OK. One Tylenol will likely kill a cat.â âAmber Andersen, DVM.
44. âYes, dog whisperer Cesar Millan has turned some aggressive
dogs around, butâpleaseâdonât train your dog that way. Using aggressive
tactics can cause serious behavior problems and may not be effective.ââA vet in California.
45. âA lot of pet medications are available at human pharmacies
for lower prices than we charge. Walgreens even has a list of veterinary
medicines for $4 per one-month dose. These are medicines that you would
pay $20 or $30 for at your vet.ââMeiMei Welker, DVM.
"Maybe start with a goldfish?"
46. âWant to exercise your cat without getting off the couch? Get one of those little laser beams.ââAlbert Ahn, DVM, a vet in Short Hills, New Jersey.
47. âI know you mean well when you vigorously lather your dog with shampoo and then vigorously rub him dry with the towel, but that can jam hairs under the skin like little splinters and cause horrible infections that are very painful. Itâs especially a problem for short-coated dogs like Weimaraners, Boston terriers, pugs, Labs, and boxers.ââNadine Znajda, DVM, a vet with BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, Florida.
48. âIf the plaque sprays and dental water additives actually worked, none of us would be telling you to brush your petâs teeth.ââDennis Leon, DVM.
49. âTake your cat to the vet in a plastic cat carrier with a removable top, and have your vet remove the lid for the exam. Your pet will feel more secure and be less likely to fight or try to flee."âMeiMei Welker, DVM.
50. âIf you live in a one-bedroom apartment with no patio and minimal space, and youâre gone ten hours a day at your job, a 100-pound Great Dane may not be the best choice for you. Maybe start with a goldfish?ââAmber Andersen, DVM.
True tales from the experts
We couldn't make these up!
âI once had a dog responsible for a divorce. The dog came in and had
eaten something unusual. When we went into surgery, it turned out it was
a pair of womenâs underwear. The owner insisted she wanted the
underwear back. We washed them and sent them home, and it turned out
they didnât belong to the lady. They belonged to her husbandâs
mistress."âBernardine Cruz, DVM.
âA client came in with her poodle and warned us that the dog would bite.
She said that it would often corner her in a room at home, too, and
snarl and sometimes bite. I asked how she handled it, and she said,
âWell, I started throwing food to get him away from me, and it worked.
So now I keep snacks in every room just in case.â âSo ... ,â I asked
incredulously, âwhenever he tries to attack you, you give him a treat?â
âYes,â she answered, âand it works every time!âââDennis Leon, DVM.
âI had one client who got upset because her dogâs ear infection wasnât
getting better. It turned out she was putting the oral tablets in the
dogâs ear canal. They were all stuffed in there. I wish I were making
this up.ââRob Nathan, DVM, a vet at Sharon Center Veterinary Hospital in Medina, Ohio.