As a society we have learned to become passive spectators in many ways, looking to others for answers and guidance instead of doing research and asking the right questions ourselves. In order to truly do the best we can by our pets we have to develop a new way of thinking. It’s important to take a more involved, active approach to ensure your dog is as healthy and happy as they can be.
This applies to all aspects of your pet’s care from the medical attention they receive to the food they eat and the training methods you use to teach them. The next time you take your dog in to the vet ask yourself if your dog really needs a Lyme vaccine when he is never in an area with ticks or if another steroid shot is really the best solution for her itching. Talk with the doctor about your concerns and ask about the risks and benefits for treatments and preventatives before agreeing to them. If your dog has a chronic issue or illness that is always treated the same just to come back in a week or month ask yourself (and your vet) what you can do to address the underlying issue instead of just putting a band aid on the symptoms.You should respect the fact that your vet went through extensive medical schooling but also value your role as your pet’s guardian and decision maker. If your vet doesn’t like you asking questions or raising concerns it might be time to find one who is willing to be a partner in your pet’s care rather than a dictator.
This applies to other aspects of your pet’s well-being too. If you find yourself wondering if the trainer insisting on choke chains and alpha rolls (read: call Bark to Basics) really has your dog’s best interest in mind make your concerns heard or find another trainer. When the person at the gym tells you any “people food” is terrible for your dog pick up a book on canine nutrition and find out for yourself.
Our dogs rely on us to make the best decisions we can when it comes to their health and happiness. We are their advocates and with that comes responsibility and many times, questioning the status quo. Ask the questions your dog’s would ask if they could talk. Do I really need another vaccine? Why is “people” food bad for me? While you’re at it, you should start applying this approach to your own health and wellness too!