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Reference Desk April 2012

7 Popular Excuses Vets Get From Pet Owners

by Patty Khuly, DVM

    April 18, 2012—You may be surprised (or not) to hear how often pet owners make excuses for their pets—and themselves. Here are seven of my favorites.

    1. She’s Not Fat!

    It’s just fur. She’s a solid dog. The breed is supposed to look that way. Her coat just makes it look like she’s carrying a few extra pounds. She’s big boned and beefy by nature. She just ate and always looks bloated afterward.

    dog and cat in pet bed

    None of these excuses tends to work on me. Sorry. Still, if you want to euphemize by calling her Rubenesque, that’s OK with me. But let’s be clear on what shape of woman Rubens was extra fond of.

    2. She’s Never Done That Before!

    This is the excuse that comes after the pet has [insert obviously unsafe practice here] and managed to (predictably) get herself into trouble.

    Jumping out of the back of a pickup truck in rush hour traffic qualifies—as does swallowing a bone whole, so that it needs to be cut out of her intestines. Allowing a “strong swimmer” to try her luck during a rip current advisory is one choice example that you can file under “What were they thinking?”

    3. She Won’t Let Me Brush Her Teeth.

    It’s not necessarily an overt falsehood, but nine out of 10 times, my clients never gave tooth brushing a good try—despite the YouTube videos on the subject I’m wont to recommend.

    4. She’ll Starve If I Don't Feed Her This Way.

    For cats (especially fat ones), I worry that they’ll develop fatty liver disease if they miss even a couple of meals in a row. Still, this doesn't mean that you can't make a serious effort to switch over to a more appropriate, veterinarian-recommended diet if your cat or dog is overweight. I mean, what will you do when she refuses to adapt to a specialized diet that she may require one day?

    5. I Only Feed Her "This" Much.

    Clients almost always hold up their thumb and forefinger one centimeter apart while delivering this message, but that doesn’t make me even one bit more willing to believe that they’re feeding her less than that porker deserves (this term, by the way, is used with much love and only positive intentions). Whatever they’re feeding—I don’t care if they swear that it’s just five kibbles a day—I’ll tell them that it’s too much.

    6. That Lump Showed Up Overnight.

    You may have noticed that thing just last night, but be honest with yourself: Do you really think that a golf ball-sized tumor appeared over the course of eight hours? Not likely.

    7. My Dog Does Not Bite.

    Oh, really? Then what are those teeth marks doing on my hands?

    Source: Vetstreet

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