Should You Get A Second Opinion On Your Pet’s Care?
Be your pet’s advocate. Be your pet’s voice. What do those phrases even mean? I can’t speak for you, but I do speak for my pets. I must. They only have me. I am the sole provider of their care, their enrichment, their quality of life. I make ALL of their life decisions. This is a huge responsibility, one I do not take lightly, and one I think about on a regular, probably daily, basis.
I know sometimes people may think of me as extreme and maybe even over the top when it comes to the care I give my pets, but I don’t agree. Unlike an adult person, my pets can’t make choices on their medical care, exercise routine, or diet. These are decisions that I make for them. I know my friends and family joke about how Dexter eats better than I do, and it’s true. But I can choose whether to eat crappy food with awful preservatives, whereas Dexter and Nutter are counting on me to make better choices for them. This means I need to be informed so I can make the best choices for their care.
So how does this all tie into being your pet’s advocate? Let’s take a look at choosing the best dog food for your dog. If you ask five dog parents, three veterinarians, and two family members what the best food is for a dog, you will get 10 very different answers. And none of these people want bad dog food; they want, and think they know, the best nutrition for a dog.
What that means for me is that I need to research and research again about dog nutrition before making a huge decision like what I’m going to feed my dog, and if I should feed by dog the same food for 10-15 years. Today, I think I know the answer to this HUGE question, but I’m guessing in another 5 years I will have new information, and may even reevaluate my feeding practices. This is the part of learning that people may overlook. It’s not about KNOWING now, but continuing our education and continuing to evolve.
Now, what about veterinary care? Should you vaccinate your dog every year? Should they get every vaccine that your veterinarian recommends? Again, I don’t just say, “yes ma’am.” I research and I research again. And I look for new research. I mean, they are doing new studies every day, and I want to know what those studies are saying. Do I trust my veterinarian? Of course! But, that doesn’t mean I agree with them 100%. I don’t agree with anyone 100%. Maybe I’m argumentative, which is funny, because I HATE conflict. That might just prove how seriously I take my job as my pets’ caregiver. I’m willing to go outside my comfort zone to speak up and ask questions for them.
That brings me to my next point. Ask questions. Ask more questions. You asked, and then two days later you have a new question? Ask again. Never feel like you can’t ask your veterinarian, dog trainer, mentor, etc. for more details. Do they think you are a pain in the a!@$? Well, if it’s really uncomfortable, then maybe that’s not the right person for you and your pet.
Just wait. Did someone tell you to do something to your pet that makes you feel uncomfortable? Maybe yell at your dog, squirt your cat with water, or give your pet a toxic flea treatment? Before just doing it, politely refuse and explain you need to look into that further. Now, it’s time to research and research some more.
Get more space. This may seem like a strange one to put in this post, but I think it fits when I explain it a bit. Often, I see dog parents allowing people or other dogs to overwhelm their dogs with petting or greeting. They may know their dog needs more space, but are uncomfortable telling the guest or greeter to back off. But you shouldn’t feel this way! Once again, your dog is counting on you to help him. Don’t worry what the oncoming person thinks. Who cares if they think you are abrupt? Your focus really should be on your dog’s comfort level. Be prepared to traffic cop oncoming people or dogs and prevent an interaction whenever you think your dog would rather not say hello. You can politely explain to them your dog needs more space, but when it comes down to it, I don’t owe them anything. I mean, if they didn’t stop 5-10′ away from us and ASK if they could come greet, then I don’t think I’M the rude one by just walking swiftly away with my dog. Believe me, your dog will thank you for it.
By being your pet’s advocate, you are helping to ensure the best, happiest, and healthiest life for your pet. When you brought your pet into your home, you took on the great responsibility to care for him and to provide him with the best care you possibly could. The more you learn about pet care, the better pet parent you will become. Now, go play with your pet!
Have you ever had to step up to the plate for your pet? Tell me in the comments.
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