How To Be Your Pet’s Advocate: Getting A Second Opinion For Your Pet

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Should You Get A Second Opinion On Your Pet’s Care?

Should You Get A Second Opinion On Your Pet’s Care? Learn how to be your pet's advocate in their daily lives. They are counting on YOU! #raisingyourpetsnaturally
How to be your pet’s voice.

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.

Should You Get A Second Opinion On Your Pet’s Care? Learn how to be your pet's advocate in their daily lives. They are counting on YOU! #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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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.

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How to choose a good vet

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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Should You Get A Second Opinion On Your Pet’s Care? Learn how to be your pet's advocate in their daily lives. They are counting on YOU! #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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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.

40 thoughts on “How To Be Your Pet’s Advocate: Getting A Second Opinion For Your Pet

  1. I think you and I could be very good friends. I feel exactly the same way you do! Not that I’m agreeing 100% with your already… 😉

    All too often, people take their vet’s word as gospel. Unfortunately for my cats, the nearest holistic vet is an hour away, and they are terrified of car rides. That’s why I have to be extra vigilant when I go to the local vet. They’re heavily sponsored by a certain food brand, and although they mean well, they aren’t always the wisest kid on the block.

    Thank you for this article! It’s good to know that there are others who feel the way I do about caring for their pet. If ever you wanted to take a peek at my website, I run a blog called The Meow Place. I’d love to get your opinion on a couple of my articles!

    1. Thanks, Amber. I guess for me, I wouldn’t work with a brand that I don’t believe in. It can certainly be challenging, but if I’m/your passionate about something you should go with what you can stand behind. Good for you for working with a holistic vet and your traditional vet. That is what we do. Our holistic vet is in NJ (we’re in Ohio). 😉

  2. I have never felt wow that seems extreme in conversation with you or while reading anything you’ve offered us in relation to caring for our pets. We have to be strong advocates for our pets and not be worried about what others think. I know for myself, it can be easy to get stuck in feeding the same foods and using the same products because we feel they are good for our furry kids. But you are right..we need to stay proactive, continue to research, and keep our ears and hearts open to change. I won’t use your comment section to write a novel so I’ll end by sharing what you’ve asked us. One incident concerns vaccinations. When I first asked my vet about titers he said I shouldn’t because they cost too much. I said more than the illnesses they can cause? He said well we can talk about that when they are due for their shots..I said I’m not changing my mind. I would like to do titers. I wasn’t trying to be difficult but I had already decided that is what I wanted for my pets. The other thing I’ll share involves training. When my GSD Nikita was a puppy the first trainer I took her to advocated the use of the penny can. Not just shaking it to distract (which I don’t like anyway) but he actually threw it at her when she got distracted from listening to him. That was it..first and last day..I took my girl by the leash and I left. Yes, I felt the stares from others..who cares. That is what being a strong advocate means to me. Sorry about being wordy.

      1. Thank you for your kind words Tonya. They mean so much coming from you! It wasn’t really hard to walk out. He threw a can of pennies at my puppy, that’s abuse in my book. I will do anything in my power to protect my dogs and I’m sure you would do the same. I’ve been known to speak up when I see strangers abusing their own animals..I can’t help it. They are defenseless.

  3. Really great points! Henry definitely eats better than me for all of the reasons I mentioned. People may think I’m a “crazy dog mom,” but I decided to take on responsibility for my little guy with reactive tendencies, a somewhat-bad leg, and who overcame heart worm. There are definitely things I need to research more, but I do what I can, when I can 🙂 Thanks for this!

  4. Great points. It’s so important to be our pets advocate. I always have so many questions, I really need to get better at writing them down. We have reached out for second opinions several times under the guidance of our vet, she is wonderful! Great article!!

  5. I agree 1000000% – Pets can not help THEMSELVES the way people can and depend on us! We had a vet that I never felt right about and I know for sure gave poor advice in the past. I am so grateful to have a great vet now, and went for that second opinion! Sadly on a few things it was too late, and Lyla’s care could have been better earlier on. The good news is now she has the best care. We have to think of our pets as if they are our children, because they ARE! We would not hesitate to get a second opinion for kids, I wont for my pets. My FURkids.

  6. Great post! I am truly an advocate for my FiveSibes and have very detailed conversations with a very supportive (and welcoming to my findings) vet team. While I am very, very fortunate to have a great vet team as it is so important that if one does not feel the compatibility with their vet, and that all parties are on the same page, seek out other opinions for sure! As a hu-mom for many years to an epileptic Husky, I not only advocate for my own boy and for educating folks on the needs of our breed so they do not wind up homeless, but for other Epi-dogs as well. It’s so important to be sure our pets’ voices are heard through us! I really like your “Space” point. They can be so overwhelmed by visitors and petting, and it so important to be tuned in to and speak up on their behalf. I really enjoyed reading this!

    1. Thanks! I really appreciate your comments and feedback. I also enjoy reading your posts on your Epi-boy. I understand that totally! When Dexter was diagnosed with Chiari-like malformation (CM) and Syringomyelia (SM) I had a lot of learning to do. I now also help educate others about the disease and ways to help these dogs. Thanks again! <3

    1. So sorry about Sooty. I was the same way with Dexter’s Chiari-like malformation (CM) and Syringomyelia (SM) diagnosis. Some suggested I just treat without actually getting the MRI to confirm. I HAD to get the MRI to know for sure and to ensure we weren’t dealing with a second issue. Knowledge is power. Scratches to Sooty.

  7. I agree with you. I have had to step up to the plate and even switch vets and try different approaches with doctors and vets on occasion. They are all extremely well educated but they are human and may not be experts in everything and may be busy or may have missed that one class or new treatment option etc. You have to do your own research too.

  8. We have also been told that our dogs eat better than we do – but I love your point that we can choose what we eat while they can not. It is our responsibility as pet parents to take the best care of them that we can and also our responsibility to learn as much as we can about how to do so!

  9. SO much yes and yes reading this. I have, as many know, a tiny tiny one. 3.5 pounds. As all toy breeds teeth are an issue and putting him under 2-3 times a year for cleaning is just not a good idea long term effects and all. So what to do? I believe in the lesser evil if you will of anesthetic free dental in this case. but my vet says no … in fact the Province I am in has banned it. What do you do when you know in your heart that you have to do what is right for your own pet even when the odds are all stacked against you? In my case I travel to another Province where he can get it done… under vet supervision no less. win win. But it’s at my own HUGE expense. But you do what you got to do.

  10. I absolutely agree about doing your own research in all matters. I have a cat in the early stages of kidney failure and our vet has suggested that she go on prescription kidney food. I’m not sure this is the best option for her and am now doing my research on what she needs nutritionally for her age and with her kidney issues.

  11. I always ask questions, my vet might not agree with me all the time but he is prepared to listen and discuss which is awesome. I am also fortunate to be able to email him with questions if something is not urgent but to help my curiosity so research, getting a second opinion etc I think is so important.

  12. There are a lot of similarities between being a pet parent and the parent of a human. Advocating for someone you love isn’t always easy, but you have to do it!

  13. I’m definitely an advocate for my girls. I’ve talked with my vet in detail about vaccinations, medication, and microchips ever since losing Truffle’s littermate to cancer due to a vaccination.

  14. We dont have any holistic vets here in India. We have some vets that do alternative medicines like Bach Flower Remedy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy etc and some pet parents that use it regularly in their animals

  15. You’re so right! I Just recently disagreed with our Vet about a vaccination. I don’t like over vaccinating my dogs. I don’t consider it “more protection” as my Vet does, I think it’s overkill to overlap a rabies vaccination. He failed to Listen to me & I was pissed!! I let him know but, believe me. We have every right to dispute what a Vet recommends if we are uncomfortable and have found reliable expert information to the contrary. Great post!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  16. I’ve had two cocker spaniels, over the years. They both had chronically, dry, patchy, flaky skin, accompanied with hair loss. Once, the veterinarian felt that the shampoo that the groomer was using, was removing too much natural oil from my dog’s skin. My vet prescribed a special shampoo, to take with me to the groomers. I felt a little awkward at first – going to the groomer’s, and asking if I could substitute their shampoo, for mine. I didn’t want my groomer to feel offended by this- and she wasn’t. She handled this very professionally. She was very understanding. My other dog also had very dry skin, with patchiness, even sore skin. I tried using Omega 3 formula’s and chews, that you find in a store. They didn’t seem to help the severe dryness that was showing on my dog. My vet was able to provide me with a prescription strength, hair skin and coat Omega 3 chew. It took a while, but my dog eventually showed improvement. My vet said “sometimes, the hair skin and coat formula’s that you find in a store are not strong enough.” I always have felt like I had to look out for my dog’s health, and I know what you mean- sometimes, I felt like I was in the middle of an awkward situation, where I didn’t want to offend one person or the other.Thanks for your posting information, on this topic !

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