Building a good relationship with your vet is really important for every dog owner, as your vet and yourself should really work in a type of partnership when it comes to planning for your dog’s health, future needs and general care. As well as seeing your vet once a year for their boosters and annual health check, your dog’s records and history will also be held by your own vet, who can retrieve it later on when needed, to check back on all sorts of things such as your dog’s weight over time, and the progression of other things too, such as their general health, aging, diet and even temperament.
This means that your vet can provide you with a lot of valuable information and insights about your dog-some due to simply having the information available to them as and when it is needed, but also, as a result of their general experience with dogs and the clinical care skills that they have built up over the course of their career.
Because dog owners rely on vets so much for advice, diagnosis, insights and directions when it comes to their dog’s health and wellness, it is all too easy to forget that your vet is only human too, and does not have access to an otherworldly bank of knowledge or prediction that can answer any question or query! While your vet can guide and advise you on most aspects of your dog’s care and health, they do not have access to a crystal ball-and so there are some answers that your vet simply cannot give you- or at least, not with any certainty.
In this article, we will look at five questions that your vet cannot tell you the answer to with any certainty-and why! Read on to learn more.
People who own a mixed breed dog or mongrel are often interested to know for sure what combination of breeds is present within the mix, and your vet might seem like the most obvious person to answer this question!
However, vets are not trained in the fine details of identification across the board for all of the hundreds of different dog breeds, and while your vet might be able to give you their informed opinion on what breed can be attributed to certain of your dog’s different features, they cannot definitively tell you for sure what mix of breeds are in there-for this, you would need to take a DNA sample of your dog and send it off to a laboratory for analysis.
This is one of those questions that vets get asked a lot too-and of course, while many people would prefer not to know, most would like to be reassured that their dog will live to a grand old age and surprise everyone! Taking into account your dog’s current age, health, weight and any issues, and also, what the breed norms and averages are too, your vet might be able to give you a vague idea of your pet’s lifespan, assuming that they do not have an accident along the way.
However at best, this would be no more than an educated guess, and not something that you should take as gospel!
Your vet can give you lots of really useful tips and advice on how to keep your dog healthy, such as what sort of food is best for them, what their ideal weight should be, how much exercise your dog needs, and if they are likely to be prone to developing any breed-specific health problems.
However, your vet cannot make any guarantees on your dog’s future health, even if they run every possible test and combine all of their knowledge and experience to make a prediction-some health conditions and diseases simply cannot be foreseen, nor identified before they present with symptoms, and so in many ways, health is something of a lottery for both dogs and people.
If your dog is acting out or behaving oddly, one of the first steps that you should take is to have them checked out by your vet in case a physical health problem is at the root of the issue. Your vet should be able to identify if there is something physical amiss and treat it, which will usually resolve the associated behavioural issue too-but if there is a mental or psychological cause for your dog’s behaviour but no physical one, your vet will have to admit defeat, and make some suggestions of things to consider, or perhaps, refer you to a special canine behaviourist.
If you didn’t get your dog until they were already an adult and you cannot trace back their original age via the past owners or the details on their microchip, your vet might seem like the obvious person to turn to, to tell you how old your dog really is!
Once again though, the best that any vet can do in this situation is to give you a rough informed guess, based on factors such as your dog’s physical condition, the state of their teeth, and some other clues and indicators that may provide guidance but not a definitive answer!