30 Vets Share The Best Pieces Of Advice They Wish All Pet Owners Knew
Bringing a dog, cat, or some other animal into your home is one of the biggest joys we can imagine. But it's also a huge responsibility. After all, we commit to caring for another life. So we need to do our homework and understand what to expect and how to react to different circumstances that arise along the way.
However, one can't possibly know everything. That's why we at Bored Panda decided to feature a Reddit discussion, started by user Feeling2Leafy where veterinarians using the platform have been sharing tips they think pet owners need to be aware of the most. From exercise to diet, continue scrolling to see what they have listed so far!
Vegans feeding their carnivore pets no meat based diets. If you do this, you're a c**t.
I would like to add knowing what the breed is for before you buy it.
Of course your dog is bringing you dead rats, he's a Terrier.
Your husky needs to run a lot, don't keep it on a chain.
A German Shepherd being over protective? Go figure.
Of course the Australian Kelpie won't eat lamb, it's a sheep herding dog. You want her to herd the sheep not eat the sheep. If sheep are tasty then you're going to have a lousy sheep dog.
Your St Bernard doesn't want to come in from the cold. He buried himself in the snow.
This is his favourite weather and "You can't catch me" is the name of the game
Please give your unwanted pets up for adoption, or at least put a little effort into giving your pets a future home. Summer is season for abandoning pets in the wild, even though many wont survive in nature, let alone the cold climate in some countries.
You have responsibilities ffs... Just because the poor pet suddenly doesn't fit into your lives, it doesn't mean it has to suffer.
This might not be the most ignored, but it’s the one that if ignored cause the most suffering.
Deciding the time to put your pet to sleep. Some people tell us that “they aren’t ready”, which is sad, and I know it’s going to be the hardest choice you’ll ever need to make regarding your little one.
But the hard truth is, it’s not about you.
If your pet is crying all night, not eating without you force feeding one bit at a time, and can’t even walk on it’s own, it’s time. Most of the time our animals tell us when they’re ready, and they trust that you’ll do what’s best for them.
We have an amazing opportunity with animals, which is to let them go when their quality of life just isn’t there anymore, and selfish owners that refuse just because they “can’t handle it yet” is half the reason why working in the industry will not be long term for me.
Burned paw pads during summer walks. Please, please, if you live in a country where summers are hot, make sure that you walk in the morning or evening with your dog. And ALWAYS check if the asphalt road is too hot to walk.
Put your hand on the road to check. If it is uncomfortable for your hand to be placed on, it'll be uncomfortable for your dog as well.
Not a vet but a very enthusiastic cat person.
DECLAWING HURTS THEM
It takes out their top finger bone and puts the poor kitty in pain for the rest of their lives. Trim their claws if they're too sharp, do not declaw them.
I believe that the finest thing you can do for your new pet, particularly a puppy or kitten, is to handle it frequently when it is young. Getting them used to having their feet handled, nails trimmed, mouths opened (even more benefit if you get them used to brushing their teeth daily - gold standard for at-home dental care), ears touched (especially breeds prone to ear infections - huge benefit in the future if you have to administer topical ear medication)... Restraint is also crucial. I constantly advise my clients to train their animals to be restrained. Because it hasn't learned to be okay with restraint, that wriggly puppy that is cute when it nips when you hold it grows up to be a massive dog that can't be properly examined.
Exercise. Like 90% of the behavior problems I see are because your two 20 minute walks a day are not enough for your large breed canine athlete in the house.
Preventive care. (Vaccines, deoworming, wellness exams, laboratories, x rays and dental cleanings etc.)
Not a vet, but I kind of know a bit about animals. People who own goldfish usually think “A goldfish should get a small bowl” are wrong, especially when they get sad that it dies in 2-3 weeks. Actually, they can live for 30 years if given a 20 gallon tank, and with right health conditions.
A lot of people don't seem to realize that parrots (and fish) can potentially life for decades. They're just like "oh I want the funny talking bird" and don't realize that they will be living with a talking animal for 65 years.
I mean my last zebra finch just died, obviously finches aren't parrots, and he was at least 11 and a half. Birds can live way longer than a lot of people expect
Brachycephalic health issues. A lot of owners of Pugs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs and other short headed dogs are always so surprised when the summer heat appears and they end up at the vets with overheated, nearly suffocating dogs.
No, dogs aren't supposed to sound like they're choking on their every breath. And no, it's definitely not normal that your pup can't walk half a block without fainting.
Please please please plan ahead financially. You may be getting a $20 bunny, a tiny gecko or a 2k fancy cat but that’s not where the finances end! Get your pet insured - you’ll find yourself in an emergency situation where your pet will need a 1k surgery and hospital stay (maybe they swallowed a sock, maybe they have a pyometra, maybe their teeth need pulling), but please have that money available.
It’s devastating to see clients desperation when we do a bill estimate… unfortunately medicine is expensive, our schooling is very expensive and with surgical intervention it’s not just the surgery itself - it’s the induction, the drugs, the space in the clinic, the vet that has studied and practiced for hours to do the surgery, the nurses that stay and care for your pet before during and after surgery!
Don’t just mindlessly adopt animals when you cannot give them the care that they deserve.
Husbandry advice, but dietary advice in general.
I see a lot of animals being fed inappropriate diets, which owners will refuse to stop feeding because "the animal likes it."
Pet Hoarding. These animals suffer abuse due to mental disorder of owners
Not a veterinarian but my heart aches every time I see a kid, or even adult, post a picture of a Red Eared Slider (RES) turtle and one of those sh**ty plastic 'beach' habitats.
Turtles in general, but specifically RES need a lot of water to thrive. Your turtle is miserable and their bodies will atrophy if they don't have enough room to swim around. Also, lettuce is not enough, nor are pellets. They eat live prey, fish.
But the worst isn't even that. They also need two kinds of lights if you're gonna have them indoors. A UVB and a UVA to bask with. Which have to be replaced every 6 months or so too.
They need vitamins, constant water cleaning/changing (They're nasty, this has to be done regularly), they need the water to be at a certain temperature, a good filter... AND they live for up to 25 years, and grow several inches long. And I mean up to 12 inches or more.
A pet turtle is much more of a time, money and care investment than a dog. But it's one of the animals least properly cared for. DO NOT give turtles away to people who didn't ask for one or haven't looked into it. Please.
Look up what plants are toxic to your pet! You'd be surprised what common house plants are incredibly deadly to your fuzzball.
An example is lilies for cats, getting some pollen on their fur and licking it up or drinking water out of the vase is enough to cause deadly kidney failure in a few days. Check the plants you have and deal with the toxic ones. I got rid of my peace lilies before I got my cat. You could also place them somewhere your pet can't get at them (off limits room, behind glass, hang it out of reach, etc.) Though that carries a risk of accidents
Not a vet, but worked at a clinic. vaccine schedules. You want to go as soon as your pet is due, don't wait a few months or even a few weeks. We had a clients dog die of lepto because they were behind in the vaccine. Preventatives are another. You need them year round, bc fleas and ticks still come out and heart worm is not something to f**k with
I think in a lot of countries the healthcare we provide is still seen as an act of charity rather than our actual jobs.
“What do you mean Fluffy’s xrays cost money? I thought you were supposed to be animal lovers!”
It’s ridiculous how often I’ve heard variations of this and I’m still just a student on placement. It gets even worse when owners start arguing with you when you have appointments back to back and have been on call all weekend.
Please understand that unless you specifically go to a charity or a place that advertises certain procedures/treatments as free, you will need to pay.
Yes I love animals and I think your pet is adorable. I still want to be able to afford to pay my rent though.
Unless you can provide the right exercise, do not get a working breed dog. Kelpies, cattle dogs, sheepdogs, huskies, hunting breeds, herding breeds — these breeds are made to run all day, not to sit in your backyard
Leaving your pet alone. I know this sounds stupid but if you had a dog that you never left during lockdown and them suddenly you have to leave it for 6 hours a day it's not going to be very happy
Thinking that limping is just a normal part of animal getting old. Yes arthritis is more prevalent in older animals, but that doesn't mean they have to be in pain. Limping = pain
I am a veterinarian. I'd like to see people focus not just on quantity but quality of their pet's life. The best thing you can do for that is just incorporate them into your life as much as possible. Pay attention to them! Love them! Lots of walks! Lots of games! You'd be surprised what they can learn. Play hide and go seek. Play fetch. Sit beside them when you watch TV, pet them. Train and socialize them early and well so you won't avoid them because they're not well behaved.
We're all so busy, it's so easy to make them an afterthought. You are their whole world and unless you live on a big farm where they run free, you are their only outlet for activity and happiness. They get bored fast, just like we do. They can't wait for you to get home. They've missed you! Take them for a walk. Do a fun training or agility class with them if you'd like.
For health, the biggest things are 1. Exercise, 2. Pay attention to what can be dangerous/toxic for them and avoid it (heads stuck in potato chip bags is one people miss lately, and keep your drugs out of their reach! They're small and more easily affected), 3. Brush their teeth.
Enjoy your pets! They love you!
Keeping the damn e-collar on after surgery. You have no idea how many complications I’ve had because the owners thought their pet “looked so sad” after a procedure. It’s not worth it, IMO.
Not a vet (yet! still in school), but probably medical advice from veterinarians. Only halfway joking, lots of owners are great but lots also will blatantly tell vets that they are wrong, their 8+ years of education is less than the medical advice given to them by some random tiktoker or the kid who stocks shelves at the local pet store.
On a serious note, obesity. Such a large number of animals are obese that people think it’s normal and animals at an appropriate weight are too thin. My SO has even fought me on what the dogs should get to eat vs what he feeds them. It took another vet to tell him that his dog was fat to actually listen to my advice.
A funny, related story. My clinic has hand outs with common treats for dogs like cheese, ham, PB and the human caloric equivalents in donuts. My parents, who are notorious for owning morbidly obese animals, tried to calculate how many slices of ham my dog “needed” to get each day while they were pet sitting because it was “only X number of donuts”. My plan to prevent them from over feeding my dog backfired, she ended up gaining over 5lbs in 3 weeks, which is a lot for a 45lb dog. All of those human snacks and treats really add up.
Brush your pet's teeth!!!
I'm an RVT that constantly works on anesthetic dentals and I can't tell people enough how much oral care impacts their pet's life.
With rotting gums and tooth root abscesses, it can lead to the bone rotting away which can cause their jaws to break (especially in our little patients). The amount of bacteria that is going on in their mouths will cause systemic infections to organs such as their liver, kidneys, and even heart. Not to mention that having an infection makes you feel sick and painful. Pets also don't like to eat, when they have terrible dental disease.
Most clients I speak to are surprised by the fact that they need to brush their pet's teeth on a regular basis to keep their teeth in check. Hell, I've even had some owners give me the "But their teeth fall out naturally" kind of spiel. Oh, they sure do-- and so do yours, if you've had bacteria, rotting food, and puss inhabiting your mouth.
Please brush your pet's teeth.
Take water for their dogs when going on a walk on a hot day. Animals , especially dogs hyperventilate faster. A lot of people own dogs, very few actually do that.
The top one for me (and I’m sure it’s been mentioned somewhere) is a rabbits general needs. Dietary, husbandry, and housing. Rabbits have so many needs that need to be met- they are not easy animals! They have burrowing needs, hay and straw are necessary, so many vegetables they cannot be fed or shouldn’t be in high amounts that people ignore, and the majority of hutches they are kept in do not meet their needs!
My friend specialises in rabbits and the stories I’ve heard from her are just terrible. Please do genuine research into rabbits before you buy them or ask a vet advice.
Former vet tech (14 years). Being rather general, people don't pay enough attention to the three "normals": what goes in, what happens, and what comes out.
What goes in: food and water, mostly. That should be normal for them; normal amounts of food, normal amounts of water, and nothing they shouldn't be eating. *Abnormals* are decreased appetite, refusal of water, and eating inedible objects.
What happens: activity levels, habits, and how they interact with other animals or people. *Abnormals* are lethargy, anxiety, increased fear, and seclusion.
What comes out: feces and urine. Should be normal amounts and consistency, colors, and at expected times. *Abnormals* are diarrhea, dark urine, vomitus, bleeding, etc.
People get so used to their pets acting normal that they don't check to make sure they actually are. Pay attention to your pets and make sure they are *normal*. Make note any time you find something off. Even if it ends up being nothing you at least have a record of it. If there is one "abnormal" that resolves in 24 hours it's probably nothing to worry about. If there are multiples or they don't resolve then you should absolutely take them to the vet along with any notes you have.
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