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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Out Of Whack Priorities

Some pet owners have their priorities all mixed up.  It's something that really bothers those of us in this profession because it often means that the pet loses out.
Recent case in point....
We had a dog brought in because the owner was worried about vomiting for a few days.  We didn't have any available appointments but wanted to make sure the pet was okay so the client agreed to drop it off.  When she did she asked how long it would take because she had a grooming appointment for him.
Really?  You brought your dog in for vomiting and you're more worried about his haircut?  He might have pancreatitis, a toxin, an intestinal foreign body, or something else bad and you are more interested in him getting his bath and trim on time?

This happens more frequently than those outside of the profession might realize.  And it often revolves around grooming.  Often we'll see a pet for a rabies vaccine only because the previous one had expired and the grooming facility required it.  Otherwise the client would have never brought their pet in!  I have also seen many cases where we do the rabies vaccine and the owner declines all other vaccines, heartworm testing and prevention, and any other preventative care.  Why do they refuse these necessary preventative services?  Because they can't afford it.  Why can't they afford it?  Because they need the money to get their dog groomed.

So basically they're saying that they can't afford a $40 test and $35 prevention against a common and life-threatening disease, but they can afford $60 or more to get their dog a bath, haircut, and cute little bows. 


This frustrates the heck out of us in this field.  We are worried about preventing serious diseases or diagnosing and treating health issues, and this is our primary focus.  For some clients they could care less about the health risks to their dog and put the priority on them looking pretty and smelling nice.  Frankly, I'd rather see a stinky, dirty dog who is current on vaccines and heartworm prevention than one with the perfect haircut who barely has his rabies vaccine up to date.

I'm really glad that clients like this are the minority of our caseload, and most people do a great job of putting the focus for their pets on the important things.  Most of my clientele are great people who listen to our recommendations (for the most part).  But I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with the ones who put their priorities for their pets in the wrong order.