“He would never” (but he totally would!)
Things you think your dog would never do, but you never know.
This blog is inspired by my own dog, Jovi. A short time ago I was telling all of my coworkers about how our home is “grape and raisin” free. Our kids think grapes are a super special treat that they get to eat on vacation and at their friend’s houses. Last week I came home to find that Jovi had raided the baby sitter’s purse, and eaten most of her entire bag of raisin containing trail mix. I induced vomiting, and retrieved 14 raisins. She could never eat raisins, we don’t even have them in our house….. Except she totally did. Here’s a few “She would never” statements, and why they might not be as true as we want them to be!
“He’s great off leash, he would never run away from me”.
Even the best trained dogs can have unexpected things happen. A squirrel runs across the street, thunder booms and startles the pet, another dog is barking on the other side of the street. Unexpected scenarios can always pop up. If you are near a street, even if your dog is perfectly reliable, the best thing you can do to keep them safe is to keep them on a leash!
“She never eats anything silly”
I think the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever found inside a dog who “never eats anything” was an air pod earbud. Carpet is pretty common (it starts unraveling, and it just keeps unraveling). Feminine hygiene products and baby diapers are REALLY common. I actually think the addition of a baby to a home doubles the risk of ingestion of a non-food item by a dog who usually doesn’t eat anything. Diapers, bottle nipples, wipes, and toys are all really tempting treasures. Toddlers in the home makes the likelihood of ingesting grapes, raisins, chocolate, candy, and small toys triple! Guests in the home, or visiting a new environment (like the farm or a labor day cookout) also means “he never has access to anything” dogs might be exposed to something they normally wouldn’t have access to.
“He would never bite anyone”
I know I’m biased on this one. Lots of dogs who would “never bite” have tried to take a bite out of me! It’s not their fault, I’m pretty scary to an unsuspecting dog! Unfortunately, there are lots of reasons for even the best dogs to bite. Painful dogs are more likely to bite (for example, a dog who has been hit by a car is much more likely to bite when moved). Scared dogs are more likely to bite. Startled dogs are more likely to bite. A common scenario is a young kid falling on a sleeping dog. Sleeping dog is startled and bites the kid before thinking. All dogs will bite, some just have a higher threshold than others.
“She never goes outside, she can’t have fleas”
Fleas are sneaky. Limited outside time may minimize the risk of fleas, but it can’t eliminate the risk entirely. If your pup isn’t on a flea preventative, and starts itching, it’s always worth doing a thorough flea comb to make sure fleas haven’t taken up residence. I also recommend routine use of a flea and tick preventative, even for those who don’t go outside (especially if you live in a high traffic environment like an apartment or townhome!)
As a veterinarian, I absolutely have a biased perspective on these statements! However, I do think it’s responsible to acknowledge that nothing is 100%, and to take precautions to protect our dogs from the things we can protect them from, and to never make assumptions! We shouldn’t live in fear, but responsibility, planning, and thought is a good thing!
When in doubt, ask your veterinarian to help you plan the best care for your pup!