Things I Just Can’t Be Bothered About

I read a lot of dog media, ranging from the traditional to the way-out-hippy-dippy. It seems like everybody is always prognosticating some terrible thing that is inevitably going to happen to my dog if I make the wrong decisions.

You know what? I’ve got real problems. I don’t need to borrow trouble.

So, here’s my list of things that make me roll my eyes:

1) Dog sunburn. Silas has no hair. He is white. We live in an extremely hot, UV-heavy climate. If he wants to sunbathe on the patio at 1:30 in the afternoon, I let him. I figure he has sense enough to know when he’s getting uncomfortable. I would never compel him to stay outside in the sun longer than that, because it’s a zillion degrees out there and I don’t want him to get overheated. (Dog heat stroke being a thing I do care about.) I don’t plan long outings midday, because it’s gross out there. I have never seen a single indication that he’s gotten a sunburn.

2) Vaccine paranoia. Silas gets a full series of regular vaccines, and will continue to do so until I see the first hint that he’s reacting badly to them. (My vet does use a three-year protocol.) That’s a choice that makes me happy. Make the choice that makes you happy. Stop trying to convince me that a tiny, tiny dose of rabies vaccine every three years is poisoning my dog.

3) Excessive vigilance about dog food. Yes, I’m saying it. Silas has serious food issues, and I have had to do a lot of work with his diet. But that doesn’t mean every dog needs you to micromanage every ingredient. Micromanaging every ingredient is exactly zero fun. Pick a food you and your budget are comfortable with. Feed it to your dog. Maybe rotate through all the flavors of that food, so that your dog gets some variety. Is your dog healthy? Woohoo! You have done your job. Stop worrying.

4) Babying healthy joints. I have a friend who was horrified that I let Silas jump up and down off our bed. “He’ll ruin his knees!” I kept it to myself that Silas’s favorite game is a zoomies circuit that includes jumping off the bed, running at full speed down the stairs, skidding across the sofa, and then executing a tight turn and doing it in reverse. I’m not going to critique his every motion to prevent hypothetical damage. Life is too short. Your dog or breed has a predisposition to bad joints? Then be more careful than I am. Over here? We’re playing the zoomies game.

5) Natural heartworm prevention. Ivermectin is extremely safe. (Arguably even for breeds with Ivermectin sensitivity, although there are some good alternatives on the market now.) Heartworm is extremely dangerous and extremely prevalent in our area. I am not fooling around. Your herbs work great for your dog? Good for you! Can we change the subject now?

How about you? What boogiemen do you refuse to be afraid of?

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12 thoughts on “Things I Just Can’t Be Bothered About

  1. Some people just seem to delight in inventing or passing on dire warnings about what could happen to dogs or people if they…[choose topic]. As you say, life is too short to live in fear.

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  2. I agree with all of these. Even the one with the babying the joints. While I do try to make things easier for Blueberry to get up and down the bed and/or couch and even the car – there are times when she takes a flying leap over the steps and when she’s feeling especially spunky will do zoomies in the yard. It’s sort of like when she suns herself in the yard when it is abysmally hot and humid out – I realize (like you do with Silas) that when she gets hot – she’ll come back in the house. I try not to micromanage.

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  3. I’m with you on all of these fronts! While I’m probably much more paranoid/vigilant than your average dog owner, I also feel like I fall on the more lax/lazy side when compared with the typical dog bloggers. I am also not concerned about: using conventional flea & tick protection and making the dogs wear seatbelts/harnesses in the car (and this is because they are very calm car riders; if they weren’t, I’m sure I’d have a different tactic).

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    1. I use up all of my paranoia on things like “Will my dog ever leave the house again?”

      Silas doesn’t need flea/tick meds, except when we’re on vacation. I keep a Preventic collar around, after the trip to Arkansas where I had to pick seed ticks out from between his toes. I would like a mosquito repellant for him, and natural seems fair enough there.

      As for seat belts: I’m not convinced that dog seat belts for medium/large dogs are actually safe. That is a lot of force to snatch against a dog’s chest in an accident, unless it’s on an uncomfortably short tether. I have one in the car, but I use it pretty exclusively for keeping Silas out of my lap while I drive.

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  4. Bwa ha ha! I love when you get rebellious.

    Good for you not sweating the small stuff. And knowing what’s small stuff for you and Silas.

    I worry sometimes that Honey isn’t groomed to look like the model golden retrievers we see in the magazines. But I’m going to take your permission to let her look like a ragamuffin and occasionally clipping out the rare mat that grows behind her ears.

    I’ll use the time I would spend grooming her doing something more worthwhile. Perhaps teaching the young kids who want to say hi the safe way to approach a strange dog after asking permission from her person.

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    1. Don’t damage Honey’s self esteem TOO much! LOL. She does have that full time modeling gig.

      That’s definitely the point of this–choose your battle. Silas not getting enough exercise is a real worry. Silas hurting his knees tearing through the house? Less of an issue. I can’t be worried about both of those at the same time.

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  5. After all my warnings to my husband about what a dog can and can’t eat, he said in an exasperated tone, “How the hell, have dogs survived THIS long?” It’s true. We have pampered these critters to the point that we worry about a puppy blowing a knee if he jumps off the couch or eats a dropped grape.

    I’m glad to see that someone else is saying yes to vaccines (within reason) and heartworm prevention. I do like the natural methods for flea and tick prevention. The idea of pouring oily insecticide on my dog worries me. I like the vinegar, water and lavender or grapefruit essential oil concoction I mix up and spray on him just fine, and so far, it works. If we lived in the South, I could change that tune.

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    1. Because fleas and ticks are external, I think a lot of people can get pretty far with a natural remedy, especially if you have a shorter haired and/or lighter colored dog. With a lot of parasites, you have to assess the risk where you are. If I lived in Connecticut, I would be 10x more paranoid about ticks, and 10x less paranoid about heart worm.

      I don’t think all pampering is bad by any stretch. Dogs live longer, healthier lives now than they have in a long time. But, you have to draw the line somewhere.

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  6. WAHHHH! What if you have the dog where like 4 of your 5 things are TOTALLY NECESSARY levels of paranoia? I have that dog and you should have seen/smelled him and his giant hot spot covered, open oozing wound spotted, rancid smelling body before I got paranoid about his food (Bless him and his stupid allergies), his vaccines (Yay! Vaccinosis cysts are fun…not), meds of all sorts (You never know what will throw off the delicate balance with this train wreck of a dog) and even heartworm meds, which set off his hot spots (but in my defence, we live in a SUPER low risk area and I would never move him to a high risk area, I’m ridiculous about making sure he has mosquito spray on AND he gets tested every 90 days, so that if he *did* ever have it, it would be caught at the easy to treat, not terrifying stage).

    Sometimes it’s not paranoia, just people sharing what works for them. I’m super grateful to the people who shared these crazy paranoid theories and for the day I got exasperated enough to say WELP! This will kill or cure a dog that slowly dying anyways… the change in him has been literally miraculous. I can see now just how painful, uncomfortable and unhappy life must have been for the poor little guy…

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    1. You are always very wise and say “If your dog has a problem with this…” I just get miffed at all of the “OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?! YOU ARE KILLING YOUR DOG.” that goes around. Umm, no. Some dogs have problems with these things. Thank heavens not all of them.

      I do have to be really paranoid about Silas’s food (although not quite as much as you–it seems to take more time for Silas’s reactions to build up), which somehow makes me more irritated at people who do it recreationally. Some people do really get a lot of joy out of making homemade diets and what not–more power to them. But unless your dog has allergies, why tie yourself in knots over it?

      I’m actually surprised that Silas can take his heart worm medicine, since it’s beef flavored and beef is a major no-no, but I just go with it. We would be hard-pressed if he couldn’t take it, given the prevalence in our area.

      I should write a companion list of “things I have to worry about that most other people don’t.” Like, how no one is allowed in my house, ever. Or my obsessive google-satteliting of hotels before we travel, to make sure they aren’t too close to the road for Silas to use the bathroom. That kind of stuff.

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  7. Love this!
    So many of the micro-managing seems like nit-picking, concern-trolling, helicopter dog owning, or dog-owner-wars (similar to “mommy wars” that I am exposed to via my Facebook feed – who’s doing it better, healthier, more natural, etc.).
    I sometimes get random replies on the blog that hint of this – I’ll have a post and someone will say “don’t you worry about x?” or “I could never do that because I am so concerned about x and you should be, too”. Well then. Either (a) no, I don’t worry about x for whatever reason, but thanks for being judgy; or (b) concerns about x are off-topic or my post is already >1000 words (common) and I choose not to address it.

    I mean, if people have the time and money and energy to worry about every little thing and research all nuances of canine life – great! But who does? Just do your reasonable best, I say. As long as you care and aren’t an idiot, it’s probably fine.

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    1. Some dogs are high-maintenance. (Ahem, Silas.) And I like that there are resources out there for people who need them. Goodness knows, I did a lot of googling with Silas’s food allergies and was really thankful for the paranoid people who had gone before me. But some freak problems are just that–freak problems. I did not give up Gluten because my friend has Celiac, why would I stop vaccinating my dog because your dog had a reaction?

      We, as humans, are just too desperate for their to be ONE TRUE ANSWER. “If I don’t let my dog jump on the bed, he will never need knee surgery.” “If I don’t let my dog eat chicken, he will never itch inexplicably.” Life just isn’t that linear and predictable.

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