5 Ways You're Screwing Up Your Pet (Explained by a Vet)

#2. Online Pet Pharmacies Can Be Shady as Hell

Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Getty Images

Unlike the human pharmaceutical industry, just about anyone can sell drugs for animals and nobody has to go to jail. You've probably seen commercials for services like 1-800-PetMeds, like this one, that claim they sell the same medicine as the vet for as low as half the price. So when your vet gives the hard sell for their own pharmacy, you start to think their motivations may not be entirely pure and wonder why anyone would fall for such a scam. Well, not you. You know better. Thanks, 1-800-PetMeds!

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Finally, you can save enough to afford that cut crystal stitches cone.

The truth is, online pharmacies have a pretty shady history. First of all, in my experience, they're not even actually cheaper. Much worse, though, is that many companies have been caught providing counterfeit medication, so every order is a game of Russian roulette. Maybe you get flea shampoo, maybe you get a box full of bees. There are legitimate online pet pharmacies, but unless you research hard you won't know if your pet drugs are shipping from some sterile medical facility or a random dude's house:

Google Earth, via Animal Med Center.
Like this actual online pharmacy's shipping address.

Even 1-800-PetMeds has a history of refusing to say where they get their drugs, and they've been disciplined by the pharmacy boards of several states for bypassing vets who refuse to authorize a prescription with an "alternate veterinarian program" (basically, a vet they pay to write prescriptions for animals they've never seen). That's a big deal, because it can result in some serious complications. For example, if a dog is prescribed a heartworm preventive but already has heartworm -- something this vet wouldn't know -- it can freaking die.

They claim to have cleaned up their act in recent years, but you can see why these online pet pharmacies set off alarm bells for your vet. We're not just being pushy because we want that sweet, sweet commission -- we're trying to save your dog's life here.

#1. Owners Refuse to Acknowledge Their Pet's Capacity for Violence

???iana Makotra/Hemera/Getty Images

It always goes the same way: Border Collie and the Infinite Flopness hasn't pooped in a week. I start prodding Floppy's unmentionables, and he's understandably not pleased with this state of affairs, snapping at me and making demands that I buy him dinner first. I ask you for some assistance, but you just chuckle knowingly and assure me, "Don't worry, he won't bite." And chills run down my spine as my own bowels become quite unclogged.

Look, I know that at home Floppy is a giant ball of love that walks little old ladies across the street and teaches life skills to at-risk youth. But this isn't home, and I'm not a precocious ragamuffin: I'm a big scary creature he's never seen before who is holding quite a lot of pointy things. He's going to do what any of us would do in this situation. To wit: whatever it takes to make this weird dude stop poking his asshole. Don't think that it makes a difference that Floppy is one of the so-called "friendly breeds," either. Let me show you what a "friendly" dog can do:

Cute dogs don't give cute bites. Click for unedited image.

That wasn't a pit bull or a rottweiler -- it was a Labrador retriever. He's still out there waiting for me, but fortunately he will warn me with his tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

That's why we might ask you to give Floppy a hug and take on the admittedly onerous task of convincing him it's OK for this stranger to violate him. It's a simple gesture, but so many people regard the notion that their pets do indeed have the natural instincts of Mike Tyson as absurd. One man was in such deep denial that he never stopped insisting, "My dog doesn't bite," even as the dog was biting him. In those cases, we refuse to do the procedure unless they hold the animal. That way, it bites the asshole owner instead of us. That might sound insensitive, but I only have so many fingers, and I'm pretty attached to them. Well, nine of them, anyway.

Manna's favorite animals are llamas. Send her adorable GIFs of them on Twitter.

Related Reading: Did you know talking to your dog is actually screwing it up? And that convincing animals to bone each other is a lot harder than it sounds? Do you have a story to share with Cracked? Email us here.

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