It happens more than one might think. Clients tell their vets white lies, but honesty really is the best policy. Without it, pets may be put in harm's way, and their guardian may not realize the trouble and added cost they may be creating for themselves. These white lies aren’t occurring because guardians don’t care about their dog or cat. More often it happens because of fear. Many pet guardians actually fear their vets or vet visits to some degree, for varying reasons. The biggest reasons clients fear the vet are financial hardship, judgment, and worry that they’ll find out heartbreaking news about a serious pet illness.
Here are some of the top reasons vets end up with the wrong info and how it affects our fur-babies when lie, even little white lies.
“I don’t know why he’s gaining weight.” Most dogs and cats are overweight these days. Our vets want to help us find the right food, the right nutrition, and the right regimen for our cat and canine companions. But many of us resist letting our vets know exactly how much food, what kind of food, and how much snacking we really allow. Yes, the vet may correct us and tell us to change our habits. Yes, it can be hard to be told we need to find a way to resist those puppy eyes. WIthout the correct information, vets can end up testing for hyperthyroidism and other costly lab tests that look for metabolism problems, when really, we just didn’t fess up to over-feeding.
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“I don’t know how it happened.” Truth be told, many scrapes and scratches can be a complete mystery. But when we suspect our two-year-old of playing too rough with Mrs. Meowington, or we know Ms. Barks-a-lot pushed through some barbed wire while crittering during and off-leash walk, we need to tell the vet the honest truth. Crittering can expose our pups to some seriously dangerous diseases, and barbed wire carries its own risk of bacterial and fungal infections. And our vet may have some savvy suggestions about how to teach pet manners to a two-year-old that didn’t even occur to us. Or our vet may have some cat-friendly ideas about where and how to establish safe zones in the house. Either way, having a complete and accurate history about the nature the a wound can mean fewer expensive tests and faster care for our fur-babies.
“No, my pet didn’t get into my [insert one or all: prescription drugs, marijuana cupboard, chocolate stash, or other dog-unfriendly product].” Our vets need to know what symptoms to check for, tests to run, and medications to administer, if any. Sometimes the truth is just too embarrassing. We all accidentally fumble and drop the occasional prescription pill. And while there is a growing volume of research about the potential benefits of marijuana, eating a whole bag or too many edibles can cause severe illness in pets. And we all know the trouble with chocolate. We need to set aside the ego and fess up.
Our vets want to take care of our fur-babies, but they need all the info to do their job well. These white lies may seem harmless, but they can stand in the way of our cat- or canine-companion’s well-being. And those white lies can be harmful to our pocketbooks. So, check the fear and ego, and whatever else may get in the way of an honest account of the problem, and let’s put our precious fur-babies first.