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Common Mistakes Pet Owners Make at the Vet

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As pet owners, we tend to always put our friends first – and that’s the way it should be! We spend our time and money to make sure our pets have the best of everything – the newest toy, that special treat, a more-expensive-than-necessary bed. But one area in which pet owners could improve is learning how to make trips to the vet stress-free for everyone – for ourselves, for the vet, and most of all, for our furry friends! Below, see a few common mistakes pet parents make at the vet and how to fix them.

Problem: The owner uses a retractable leash.

Sometimes when we bring our dogs to the vet, they get a little bit anxious. This is a natural reaction. However, as pet owners, we do not always come prepared for this. You may think you’re doing your dog a favor by putting him on a retractable leash at the vet and giving him room to roam. However, retractable leashes can actually cause a lot of problems at the vet.They encourage pulling and poor pet behavior, and they also pose a threat to other people and their pets, because if your dog gets excited, he can easily wrap himself around other pets and their owners, causing a catastrophe. This is especially common in veterinary waiting rooms, as dogs get excited when they see other animals. You will want to keep your dog under control, as he may not get along with other dogs or may end up interacting with a sick animal and getting himself sick, as well.

Quick Fix: Use a tether leash instead.

These situations can easily be avoided by instead using a short tether leash on your pet, especially at the vet. Keeping your dog on a 3’ lead will enable you to control him, as well as keep him out of trouble. The Kurgo Quantum Leash is an excellent choice. It has six different configurations, so you can use the long 6’ lead outside and then shorten up to 3’ while in the vet office.

Problem: You feel trapped inside.

Sometimes, we may feel like we have to sit inside and keep our poor pups cooped up while we wait for the vet to arrive.

Quick Fix: Get outside!

You are not trapped. Just inform the receptionist where you will be and take your dog outside. You can go for a short walk around the property, throw a ball or a toy, or just hang out in the fresh air. This helps to alleviate any stress the vet may cause. Just remember to take precautions: if your pup is sick, don’t overdo it.

Problem: The owner views the waiting room as a “meet and greet” venue.

Although sometimes vet visits are just routine, often times we bring our pets to the vet because they are sick or their behavior is abnormal. When you are sick, you don’t want to be around other people. The same goes for your dog. He isn’t there to play and make friends; he is there to be treated. Also, other pet owners don’t necessarily want their pets interacting with your dog, either.

Quick Fix: As a common courtesy to people and pets alike, keep your dog confined to the area around you.

As pet owners, we understand our own pets’ needs, but we don’t always offer the same courtesy to other people’s pets. As a rule of thumb, make sure you keep your pup leashed and always remain in control when there are other pets around so as to respect the other pets and their owners.

Problem: You withhold information from the vet.

It is easy to overlook small bits of information that are seemingly insignificant to you, like the fact that you feed your dog even just a tiny piece of your food at dinner every night or he hasn’t been exercising much lately because you’ve gotten too busy. It isn’t intentional and it isn’t always harmful, but if your dog is sick and you leave something out, your vet may not be able to rule out certain conditions and narrow it down to others without doing all sorts of tests.

Quick Fix: Tell your vet everything you know about your dog.

Even if it seems unimportant, your vet isn’t going to judge you for divulging information. We all like to self-diagnose on the Internet and our doctors don’t judge us for it (at least not to our faces), so why not start thinking of the possible scenarios that could be wrong with your pet? By telling your vet everything you know, it will help him or her to more easily diagnose your dog and get him the treatment he needs.

Problem: You don’t understand what the vet has said – and you don’t ask what he or she means.

Just like when we’re at the doctor’s office for ourselves, vets sometimes use terms that we do not understand. If we don’t understand the problem, we won’t understand the solution. And if we don’t understand the solution, we won’t follow through.

Quick Fix: Ask for clarification.

If you don’t understand something, always ask your vet to explain it in laymen’s terms. Your vet is there to help you help your pet. I promise, he or she will be happy to explain!


Follow these tips, and your trip to the vet is sure to be a success! Plus, you will have a very well-behaved dog and people will ask you how you do it. Don’t worry, you don’t have to cite us as your source!

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