Cats and Dogs
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What dog is the hardest to take care of?

Which animals are hardest to treat?

All pet-patients require the same standard of care, but some species are just harder to treat than others.

Why are some animals harder to treat than others? If you own or work at a veterinary clinic, this is one question you will likely ponder at some point. Cats are not dogs; neither are canaries, chinchillas or degus. But which pet-patients are the hardest to treat? Which animals must be wrangled and sedated in order to examine and which are so stinky, you’d rather eat dog food than stitch up its festering wound?

Here’s a list of some of the hardest animals to treat. Due to the graphic nature of the subject at hand, some vet discretion is advised.


Pigs are smart and good-natured, but treating them at your veterinary clinic can be as unpleasant as sucking on sour grapes. Strong and stubborn, pigs aren’t exactly the picture of cooperation. With no accessible veins, pigs are hard to tranquilize with drugs, and boy, do they know how to squirm! If they don’t want to sit still and be treated, they’ll dig their heels in, before darting off, their squeal piercing the ears of everyone in your clinic’s waiting room.

That being said, pigs are wonderfully delicious, and not just in the “I’m going to roast you for supper kind of way.” They truly are sweet, possibly because of all the sweet treats you have to bribe them with to complete your examination or procedure. Want to suture, suction or sample? Offer your pig-patient a bowl of frosting to lick. Need them to ingest a pill? Hide it inside a banana. These animals are always up for a pigfest and will be happy to chow down while you work on their bodies.

Song birds

With tiny animals come tremendous treatment challenges — and song birds are no exception. These miniature music machines are so delicate that it doesn’t take much to aggravate their fine temperament. A little nick, infection or bout of pain, and the sweet songbird’s lullaby rapidly descends into the depths of melancholy and despair. If there was ever a soundtrack of emo bird notes, it would be teeming with the fearful chirps of the stressed song bird on a veterinary exam table. Despite your best attempts at care, when a song bird is under the weather, they just want to die — fast. But not without first taking a jab at you with their tiny, pointed beaks. Ouch.

And that’s without taking into account the fact that their bodies are so small that even if they were to cooperate, finding the right part of anatomy and tending to it accordingly is about a clear-cut as performing anentenal surgery with only one working eye.


You’ve most probably heard of road rage, but have you ever heard of cage rage? Kept in cages for the majority of their domesticated lives, hamsters are highly susceptible to extreme aggression, especially when feeling under the weather. They can turn themselves into a ball, have no tail to grab onto and bite when they are startled or feel threatened. They might be cute, but they are pretty much just furry biting machines. With the staggering amount of children — and vets bitten by enraged hamsters annually, it’s a wonder why anyone ever thought hamster would make good pets. They certainly don’t make good patients.

Then again, if you had to spend all day running around in circles, without actually going anywhere, you’d probably be stressed out and furious at the world as well.



Treat a rattlesnake for mouth rot, parasites or breathing disorders, and you’ll forever shudder at the sound of baby rattles shaking in your little one’s nursery or playroom. As if the slippery, slithery snake body wasn’t enough of a challenge to work with, you have to listen to him shake his money maker throughout the entire treatment process! The near-constant sound of biological rainsticks rapping at your cerebellum is enough to make your own body shake from head to toe.

Turtles and tortoises

While it may seem idyllic to have patients who don’t gripe about their ailments or yelp out in pain mid-treatment, it’s anything but. Turtles and tortoises feel pain, but you won’t hear them screaming or crying, so it can be hard to modify your treatment. And it can also be hard to keep these slimy pets still, while maneuvering around that giant shell of theirs. Imagine trying to extract a precious diamond from within a hard coal cave? That’s more or less what inserting an IV into a turtle is like.


Exotic animals

The majority of small animal training in vet school is devoted to cats and dogs. No surprise there; canines and felines are the most commonly owned pets. This means that you probably have less experience treating more exotic animals. And while some of these less popular creatures are truly magnificent, others can be little — or big, stinkers. Literally. From oily fur to overactive sweat glands and the natural consequence of spending time in a cage with their own excrement, exotic animals, like rabbits, possums, iguanas and guinea pigs, are no picnic to treat. Or to picnic with.

The bottom line

In all honesty, while different species bring with them different challenges and some may be harder to treat than others, the hardest animals to treat are the ones that aren’t brought into the clinic until it’s too late — or at all. That’s why it is so important to remind pet owners to bring pet-patients in for routine check-ups. This way, you can identify, diagnose and treat even the most difficult pet-patients as early and as successfully as possible. It is also crucial that you provide superior care throughout the treatment process that encourages pet owners to bring their animals back for follow-up and future examinations and treatments. This includes implementing decontamination, instrument processing and sterilization practices within your regular operations — using the most advanced sterilizers/autoclaves.

Tuttnauer’s Tvet veterinary autoclaves were developed specifically for vet practices. They meet all your sterilization needs by creating cycle parameters to accommodate double wrapped pouches. These cycles ensure sterility and efficient drying of packs and pouches, helping veterinarians meet today’s challenging workloads and provide superior pet-patient care, without risking infection contamination.

16 Most Challenging Dog Breeds That Are Full Of Love


All dogs need love, attention, and training – but some dog breeds need a little more than others. Every dog breed has its strengths and weaknesses. That doesn’t make any particular breed less loveable, but these 10 dog breeds may need a lot more patience and obedience training than others. These breeds tend to be intelligent, independent, and stubborn, making then the least obedient dog breeds. Successfully training one of these breeds should win you an award!

#1 – Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound was bred to spend all day chasing prey over long distances. These sighthounds needed to think for themselves to keep track of the prey instead of looking to their owner for direction. These days, those traits are displayed as being aloof and independent.

They make up for their lack of obedience by being extremely affectionate and loyal. Owners of this dignified breed report that no amount of training will overcome the breed’s hunting instinct to chase after prey. They need the opportunity to run freely in a large securely-fenced area at least a few times a week to meet their exercise requirements and need to run and chase. Training them to listen to you instead of keeping an eye out for something to chase can be a challenge.

#2 – Chow Chow

Chow Chows are said to have very cat-like personalities. They are aloof, reserved, independent, dignified, intelligent, and stubborn. This stubborn streak means that they spend a lot of time choosing to ignore what you’re asking them to do unless you can convince them it is something they want to do.

Without a lot of socialization as a puppy, Chow Chows are also prone to becoming territorial and aggressive to any person or dog outside their immediate family. This can make them an excellent guard dog, but a liability anywhere outside your own property. It takes a lot of work to convince them that not all strangers are threats to your family.

#3 – Basenji

Like the Chow Chow, the Basenji has a very cat-like personality. Like the Afghan Hound, they were bred to be independent hunters. They are referred to as the “barkless dog,” but that doesn’t mean they are quiet. They make a sound that’s described as something between a chortle and a yodel. It’s a sound that your neighbors may not find as adorable as you do.

They need to be socialized and trained early. Their boundless energy and short attention span make it difficult for them to pay attention to training. The good news is that you can use their high play drive to train them with positive reinforcement techniques.

#4 – Bulldog

Bulldogs needed the tenacity to drive cattle to the market and participate in the bloody sport of bull-baiting, and that trait has carried over into today’s Bulldog as stubbornness.

While they are no longer aggressive, they do things on their own time, at their own speed, and only if they want to. Getting them to go for a walk can be a chore, but it’s a necessary one since Bulldogs are particularly prone to obesity, which exacerbates some of the other medical problems they are prone to. Adorable though they may be, Bulldogs are also reported as being slow to learn.

#5 – Bloodhound

The Bloodhound was bred to trail deer and boar and needed to be able to think for himself while on the hunt. This independent attitude can make the Bloodhound rather disobedient today without the right training. Bloodhounds will go to the ends of the earth following their nose and they have endless amounts of energy.

Dogtime calls the Bloodhound “the definition of the word stubborn.” With a lot of training, exercise, and patience, the Bloodhound can become a sensitive, tolerant family dog. The dogs were originally kept as status hounds by royalty, leading many to believe the name came from being a “blooded” hound belonging to those of royal blood.

#6 – Pekingese

Bred as a lapdog for the royals of China, the Pekingese was never meant to carry out an obedience drill or an agility course. They have an air of self-importance that makes them believe you are their royal subject rather than vice versa, which can make training them quite the challenge.

They are extremely intelligent; however, they are also independent and stubborn. They are affectionate with their family but may not get along with strangers and other dogs. They need to be socialized and obedience trained from a very early age.

#7 – Dachshund

Dachshunds were bred to hunt badgers, rabbits, foxes, and even boars. They are brave, independent, and stubborn. They are notoriously difficult to train and housebreak. They are lively and intelligent and need things to keep their minds and bodies active.

Boredom can exacerbate disobedience. They were bred to dig into tunnels chasing after badgers, so they may be inclined to tear up your backyard to act on that instinct. They also love to bark. Puzzle toys can help keep Dachshunds from becoming destructive.

#8 – Welsh Terrier

Like many other breeds on this list, the Welsh Terrier was bred to hunt independently. Being bred to think for themselves, they aren’t too keen on listening to somebody else’s directions. Welsh Terriers have boundless energy and want to play all day long.

They also love to solve puzzles, and if you don’t provide them with enough mental stimulation, that puzzle could be how to get into the trash or find your favorite article of clothing to destroy. Like a cat, Welsh Terriers like to be in high places like on top of tables and other furniture. They are also prone to barking and digging.

Image source: @somethingferdinand via Flickr

#9 – Borzoi

If you thought a dog bred to hunt wolves would have an independent attitude and not be inclined to obey humans, you would be right – and describing the Borzoi. Once called Russian Wolfhounds, the Borzoi will chase anything it can and doesn’t care much about following directions. According to the AKC:

“In their quiet, catlike way they can be stubborn, and training is best accomplished with patience, consistency, and good humor.”

Thanks to their strong need to chase things, they need to be kept on a leash or allowed to run in a well-fenced-in area. This isn’t the type of dog who will casually stroll next to you unleashed on a hike.

#10 – Beagle

Beagles were bred to follow their nose all day in pursuit of small game, so getting them to listen to your commands instead of their nose can be challenging. Their stubbornness and need to follow their nose requires creativity to train them.

They were also designed to bay when on a hunt so that hunters could follow the sound of their pack of dogs when on a hunt, and your Beagle will not care what time of day it is if he sees something outside a window that he wants to chase. They need plenty of exercise to keep them from becoming destructive.

#11 – Siberian Husky

Stunningly beautiful, huskies are very popular dogs. Their beauty, however, is offset by extremely high intelligence and a free spirit. If you think your husky isn’t responding to training because they aren’t smart enough, think again! They require an extra persistent strategy for training.

#12 – Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds have many wonderful qualities, but many think they don’t rank too high on the intelligence scale. For that reason, while they can be very well behaved, they can be difficult to train.

#13 – Bull Terriers

Bull Terriers are a bred that requires firm training had and a lot of consistency. They will test you every chance they get! And with an adorable face like that, they might just get their way more often than not!

#14 – Old English Sheepdogs

These unique pups are known for their long, wild coats. While they are quite intelligent, this herding breed has a need for independence. You’ll need to show your assertiveness in your training program with them. However, once trained, Old English Sheepdog can be wonderful additions to your family.

#15 – Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees’ can be wonderfully loyal family dogs. However, if they sense any weakness in their owner, they are sure to take advantage.

#16 – Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas can sometimes be a challenge to keep well behaved. It’s often said that chihuahuas make great guard dogs because they’re always suspicious of strangers. However, this behavior can sometimes be problematic and it difficult to train them to accept certain people.

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