I love my dog and try to do all the right things for his health and happiness, but I definitely did *not* go to vet school, so there's a possibility that I have no idea what I'm doing. I was curious to find out what dog owners commonly get wrong, so I asked the dog professionals of the BuzzFeed Community to share the most common misconceptions about being a good dog owner. Here are 17 of the most illuminating responses that you might not have known:
1."Vet here. Vaccines from the store are not equal to the ones from your vet. There is no way to know if the ones from the store were properly refrigerated from point A to point B. I have seen so many dogs with Parvo (a highly contagious viral disease) that received store-bought vaccines. Always bring new puppies to the vet for vaccines — even if the breeder says they are 'up to date,' because breeders usually give store-bought vaccines."
2."I’m a vet tech and I will never take my dogs to a dog park. You may have a good dog, but that doesn't mean you can trust others. I have seen the worst accidents happen from owners taking their pet to a dog park."
3."I’m a CVT (certified veterinary technician) and there is a misconception that a homemade diet is a healthier way to feed your dog. This is NOT the case. For example, just feeding your dog ground turkey and sweet potato is so unbalanced. Appropriate diets need to include various vitamins and minerals that aren’t just in a few whole foods. Always consult a veterinarian before doing this. I’ve seen people accidentally make their dogs sick or cause bladder stones because of improperly composed diets."
4."Vet tech at a shelter here. The opposite of a 'no-kill' shelter isn't a 'kill' shelter. It's a shelter that's not supported by their community enough to meet the needs of their community. They need your support WAY more than a 'no-kill' shelter because I promise every staff member and volunteer there is desperately trying to save every animal they can but they're overwhelmed by the sheer number of animals that come in every single day. Turning your back on them because they haven't reached a 90% adoption rate yet (the industry definition of no-kill) will not help save any animals. There are thousands more I could get into but that one really directly undermines the work of those at the front lines of pet overpopulation."
5."I have fostered 46 dogs for a local rescue organization, and the most frustrating thing that people don't understand when adopting a dog is that they need to give the dog time to adjust. It can take weeks (or months!) for a dog to fully adjust to their new home. Sooo many people adopt a dog and then want to return them two days later because they're peeing in the house or barking in the crate or whatever. Calm down and give them time to adjust. Patience is key!"
6."I'm a veterinarian. Many people think that as dogs get older, it's normal and not something to worry about if you see them taking longer to stand up, not wanting to jump in the car, or walking stiffly. These are often symptoms of arthritis. Dogs are tough animals that don’t show pain like we do. The signs may be subtle, but it means that your pet is uncomfortable. Please talk to your vet at your next appointment so you can set up strategies to slow the progression and help manage discomfort."
7."I’m a canine behaviorist. I still see so many people who think dominance theory works, or is even relevant. It’s essentially making your dog too afraid to perform an unwanted behavior. The dog doesn’t learn an alternative behavior. They just learn fear. It's incredibly sad to see."
8."Vet tech here! Your pet's dental health is just as important as yours! No, dental bones are not a substitute for brushing. Get your dog used to having their teeth brushed with coconut oil or doggy safe toothpaste. It will save them the pain of dental disease, and save you the money of teeth extractions when they’re older."
9."Groomer here! Doodles do shed and need regular grooming. Please don’t listen to breeders who say they're less maintenance and hypoallergenic."
10."I've been a vet tech for nine years, and I'd say to SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR ANIMALS!! The world does not need more irresponsible breeders who create genetic nightmares. The amount of dogs and puppies getting killed in shelters every day is reason enough to ban unlicensed breeding altogether."
"Coming from an ER Vet: please keep spaying your female dogs! As females get older, they run the risk of developing a severe and dangerous uterine infection and require an emergency spay which will cost at least $4,000. If you don't plan on breeding, or you are done breeding, then it's such an easy preventable issue."
11."We don't tell you to give your dog anti-anxiety medications and sedatives prior to your vet appointments because we find it hysterical how drunk your animal is. We do it because we feel terrible for how scared your pet is being near us! The number of pet owners who haven't given their pets the medications we tell them to (gabapentin, trazodone, acepromazine) is because they hate to see their pets all drugged up and out of it, especially when they get home. You should hate seeing your otherwise incredibly loveable dog or cat so scared out of their mind to be at the vet! If they are pooping, peeing, and trying to attack us or run away during the visit — we do it for their safety and ours. We do it for their comfort and care. We do it because we truly care about your pet. Please listen to us when we say your pet needs this, because they really do."
12."I'm a dog-sitter in a large city who takes care of a lot of bigger breeds who live in apartment buildings. My friends will say how sad it is for big dogs to be living in 'cramped' spaces, but as long as the dogs get taken outside for walks/exercise multiple times a day, then they're happy as can be!"
13."Vet tech here! Always research the dog breed you’re looking to get. Don’t just go get a German shepherd because you grew up with them or a French bulldog because they are the popular breed right now. So many owners come in with these breeds and don’t understand how much work and training they need or the medical issues they can have. I see so many German shepherds that are high anxiety and fear aggressive because the owners have no idea how much busy work and training they need. French bulldogs are very common for medical issues like allergies, breathing issues and are unfortunately being over bred, so the medical issues are only getting worse. There are so many good dogs sitting in shelters that need homes. Yes, they are mixed breed but have less medical issues/behavior issues because they are not purebred!"
14."Keep your pet on heartworm, flea, and tick prevention all year round! I'm a receptionist at an animal hospital and everyone thinks that once it gets cold, it's not a big deal. WRONG! These things are still a huge threat in the winter, especially if you live in the northeast of the United States. Ticks are everywhere and Lyme disease is no joke!"
15."Vet tech here. When your vet sends you home with antibiotics for your pet, use all of it. I get tired of hearing people tell me they have 'leftover antibiotics' and then complain that their pet is still sick or that the rash came back right away. Well, did you finish all the meds? Oh, you didn't? THAT'S WHY YOUR PET IS STILL SICK!"
16."Groomer here. Brush your dog! All dogs need their hair brushed. The difference in shedding will be amazing!"
17."I’m a dog groomer and sitter. My piece of advice is to get your dog ready to be handled by a groomer or vet. Pick up their feet one by one, touch their faces and tails to get them used to being handled. The difference between a dog that is used to being touched and not scared and one that isn’t is huge."