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ER vet reveals the 5 things he would never do with his own dog

Dr. Marcus, an emergency veterinarian who goes by @thefriendlyvet on TikTok, is sharing some words of wisdom with fellow dog owners, and his advice is definitely worth a listen.

The vet has shared hundreds of videos to keep pet owners in the loop about their fur babies’ health and well-being. Sometimes, his TikToks offer basic hygiene tips, like properly cleaning a dog’s ears. Other times, he passes along important safety pointers to be aware of if your pet ever has a medical emergency.

But one recent video that’s gotten a lot of attention is a post about the five things he avoids doing with his own dog, Charlie — things that many people with dogs wouldn’t think twice about. And some of his examples might surprise you.

No. 1 on Dr. Marcus’ list of “don’ts” is bringing Charlie to the dog park.

Despite their growing popularity and the obvious benefits of getting your dog outside in the fresh air and socializing with others, Dr. Marcus says there are a lot of other drawbacks to local dog parks.

“Can he catch a tennis ball? Maybe,” Dr. Marcus says. “But you know what he can catch? Parvovirus, Giardia, these hands from another dog.”

Along with treating nasty colds and viruses caught in the dog park, Dr. Marcus says he also regularly stitches up “way too many bite wounds” from dogs fighting at these social gatherings. Because of this, he’d rather steer clear of them altogether.

The No. 2 “No-No,” according to Dr. Marcus, is giving Charlie bones or bully sticks to chew on. Turns out, he’s done a lot of emergency surgeries on dogs who’ve swallowed parts of these treats and toys. In some cases, they’ve also fractured teeth while chewing on them.

No. 3 is one rule most of us are probably aware of: Always leash your dog in public.

“All it takes is one squirrel, one tennis ball,” says Dr. Marcus in the clip. “Now he’s in the middle of the streets of Oakland and he got hit by a car — or, as we call it in the hospital, an HBC.”

No. 4 is actually something Dr. Marcus always does and won’t ever stop doing, since he knows how important it is. And that’s giving his pup long-term medications, vaccines and other preventative medicines to keep him healthy.

His reasoning? “It’s way easier to prevent disease than it is to treat it,” says the vet.

Last but definitely not least is Dr. Marcus’ fifth rule: Never free-feed.

“As much as he would like to eat everything, all day, every day, I like to control how much he eats and keep him on a consistent schedule,” the vet explains.

Aside from keeping Charlie on a healthy diet, Dr. Marcus says that this strategy also lets him know if there are any changes in his dog’s appetite. After all, he says, a sudden decrease in appetite is often a sign of some other underlying health issue.

After the video started making the rounds on TikTok, people had a wide variety of reactions in the comments.

Some people found these tips reassuring since they reiterated things they already do themselves.

“Thank god am not the only one not taking my dog to the dog park,” one person wrote. “I always feel guilty but i know is for his own protection.”

“We never go to dog parks!” added someone else. “Our dog trainer always calls them ‘disease infested fight clubs.'”

Other users, however, got a bit defensive.

“I did ALL of these and my pup lived till 18 years of age,” one commenter wrote. “I miss him everyday but I know he was healthy, loved so much, and taken care of!”

“Free-feeding works for us cause ours dogs are the biggest grazers and sometimes won’t touch food for a full day!” another person chimed in. “Depends on the dog!”

Plenty of other TikTokers asked the vet what was so wrong about giving dogs bones or bully toys to chew on and wondered what they could offer up instead.

“General rule of thumb for chew toys – if you can’t bend it with your hands or indent it with your thumb, it is too hard,” Dr. Marcus explained in the comments.

A few people also wanted to add some additional advice to the list.

“Another important thing please get dog insurance,” wrote one person, who said “it’s sooo worth it.”

To that, Dr. Marcus said he “absolutely” agreed — presumably because he sees just how much ER visits cost without any insurance coverage.

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