6 Common Health Care Mistakes Even Superstar Pet Owners Make

Photo courtesy of Dr. Patty Khuly
Dr. Khuly with her escape artist dog, Gaston, who needs three forms of ID.

Think you’re a smart and savvy pet owner? If you’re confident enough to answer in the affirmative, then you’re probably not wrong. But that doesn’t mean that you have it all sussed out. Even the most educated and diligent among us manage to muck things up, and when we do, it’s usually the simplest ways in which we err.

Consider these six simple mistakes that plenty of well-meaning, otherwise conscientious pet owners make:

They Don't Keep Good Medical Records at Home

We don’t expect you to have your pet's entire medical history on hand, but keeping the basics is crucial in the event of any emergency. This includes your pet's past and current diagnoses and treatment regimens, a list of procedures that she’s undergone, possible allergies or intolerances and any drugs that she’s taken in the past or is currently taking.

Imagine showing up at the ER at 3 a.m. and trying desperately to recall things that you really should have printed out ahead of time or — better yet — included in one of those cool smartphone apps that help you keep track of your pet's health care info.

I like Nebulous for this because it automatically synchronizes with the Dropbox app so that you can transfer your data to your ER vet’s computer in seconds.

They Don’t Log Symptoms and Illnesses for Their Vets

Does your pet have a chronic intermittent disease, like seizures, feline stomatitis or inflammatory bowel disease? Then you should be keeping track of her symptoms, noting their severity and the dates of occurrence. Without this crucial data, your vet is less equipped to optimize your pet’s treatment regimen.

They Don’t ID Pets Properly

Even I used to be guilty of this — until one escape artist who goes by the name of Gaston came into my life. Now I have a dog who sports a tag, a microchip and a GPS tracking device (yes, really). It's mentally soothing to see that little message on my iPhone telling me that Gaston is near the GPS tracker’s base station.


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