When you talk about making hard decisions and pet ownership, there is one decision that immediately springs to mind.
There are a lot of hard decisions to make as a pet parent, though, not just that one.
One of the most difficult parts of being a dog mom for me, especially to a senior dog, is knowing what decision is the right decision to make when these things come up.
When he was younger, the decisions that I had to make for Jet centered on the right food for his needs, the best exercise for his joints, the right antibiotics for his sensitive tummy…they seemed like huge decisions at the time, but now that he’s older
These seemed like huge decisions at the time, but now that he’s older, the decisions I have to make for Jet are sometimes overwhelming, even terrifying at times.
It’s hard to know what the right choice is for just about any decision you are faced with when you own a senior dog.
Do you get that bothersome growth removed if it means putting your immunocompromised or cardiac risk dog under anesthesia?
Do you get a booster vaccination if their titer shows a need for it if it means a risk of a vaccination reaction?
Do you treat cancer if it means a few months more, but that those months will be of a lower quality of life?
Do you amputate a limb with a cancerous growth if it means major surgery and extended recovery time?
Do you allow the cancer to remain and hope that it doesn’t spread quickly?
The questions are so endless and every time you are faced with them it feels like your world stops spinning because the fate of your best friend might be in your hands with one simple nod or shake of your head.
Lately, it feels like I am faced with more of these decisions and one of the only ways that I can cope with making them is through research and a good relationship with our vet.
I cannot stress enough the importance of a good relationship with your vet.
There are some vets who will umm and ahh when you ask their opinion.
“What would you do if it was your dog?” You will ask and they will say “Well, I really can’t say.”
They give this answer because it’s what they are taught to do. But when you have a vet who you trust, a vet who you have a standing relationship with, you can ask this question and they will answer you honestly.
“What would you do if it was your dog?” You will ask and they will say “I can’t tell you how to treat Jet, but I can tell you what I would do.” And they will tell you. And you will still have a choice, but you will have the opinion of someone you trust to help guide you.
I don’t fault a vet for not giving an opinion, whether it’s for legal reasons or whether it’s personal preference, but a good vet for me, for us, is not just a vet who excels in medicine, but also a vet who isn’t afraid to offer help when you need it to make the difficult decisions.
What is a good vet to you?