Veterinarians need to work on their communication and empathy skills, or “customer care,” according to a recent study out of Norway. About 73 percent of the 105 dog owners and breeders surveyed say their dog is an “essential” part of their life and consider it their “best friend.”
But about one-third of those owners and breeders say veterinarians do not spend enough time addressing issues properly. About one-third report problems related to a lack of trust and poor communications with their veterinarians. And one in four say they felt forced to endure many burdensome exams and procedures at the end of their pets’ lives.
As a result, pet owners are becoming more critical of their veterinarians and want a practitioner who will take on more than just clinical concerns, according to the study.
Seven out of 10 dog owners seek out veterinarians for behavior problems, as well as most other aspects of ownership. And while 23 percent of owners felt their veterinarian acted in their pets’ best interest, 26 percent say the practitioner did what was most interesting for himself or herself.
The authors determined that as the human-animal bond continues to strengthen, veterinarians would benefit from additional training when it comes to relationships between pets and owners.
The study, titled “Changes in relationships between dogs, owners and veterinarians in Norway and Iceland,” was based on findings from surveys and interviews of 105 dog owners and breeders. It was originally published in the journal Veterinary Record.