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Choosing a Vet For Your Dog - A Dog Owners Checklist
Most dogs live between ten and seventeen years. Therelationship you have with your veterinarian is going to be along one. It's a worthwhile investment of your time andenergy to shop around carefully to find a vet whom you'll becomfortable with for years. If you don't feel that you cancommunicate openly and honestly with your animal doctor,then keep searching.
The first thing you should look for in a vet is someone whoyou believe will be able to communicate with you. Thisperson's first job will be to diagnose what's ailing your dogor to try and figure out why your pet is behaving a certainway. Next, the vet should be able to explain the problem toyou in a way that you can understand. The vet should thenbe open to any questions you need answered until you feelfully satisfied and confident that you know what your dogneeds and how you can take care of it. You shouldn't stopsearching until you find a vet who is both qualified andpersonable enough for you.
There are many resources to help you find the bestveterinarian. No matter where you live, start out by askingfriends or other family members. You might ask questionssuch as: Who do you use? Does he explain what's ailingyour animal clearly? Is he good with certain breeds? If theyknow of a qualified vet, they may save you a lot ofsearching.
Another option, growing ever popular, is an online search.Many chat-rooms, newsgroups and clinic web pages areboth valuable and innovative methods of assessing what'savailable. Additionally, if you can find the contactinformation to a private rescue clinic (many of which are notin the phone book) online, you may be able to ask themwhich vets they have worked with.
Once you have a list to choose from, you can call or evenvisit different clinics. You first question should be in regardto their office hours. Are they open late? Do they have anemergency service phone number available? Are they openon weekends? Again, this would be just in case there's everan emergency.
Next, assess the staff. This may be hard over the phone,because like any medical facility, they're often busy places.So, it may be best to do this in person. Are they friendly,knowledgeable and helpful? Are they used to handlinganimals, especially dogs carefully? If your dog is large, canthey handle him without injuring or frightening him more?One ingenious way to find this out is to schedule a "nailclipping" appointment. Don't test ten different veterinaryclinics in one week, as this will tire your dog excessively.Visit the clinic for a preliminary test of all that has beenstated. This will get you on the "inside" and will help youmake a well-founded, first-hand appraisal of the clinic andits faculty.
There are a few final issues to resolve before yourassessment is over.
- Is the clinic is a multi-doctor clinic, or a one-person show.
- If there are many doctors, can you choose a veterinarianwho will work with you and your dog exclusively?.
- What are the charges for basic services (vaccinations, nailclipping)?.
- What types of payment do they accept?.
- Are there low cost vaccinations available?.
- Are the veterinarians on staff a part of any continuingeducational programs?.
- Is the facility up-to-date with the latest practices andtechnology (diagnostic, surgical, laser, ultrasound, andaftercare services)?.
- Will they allow you to tour the boarding facilities?.
- Are these facilities clean?.
Again, getting an inside view of the place will help youanswer all of these questions both quickly and accurately.Finally, if you feel like you've found your new veterinarian,celebrate! This was an important step in making your dogpart of the family. Rest assured that you have done yourpart for your pet's well being.
About the Author:
Tina Spriggs is an expert dog lover whose lifelong interest in canines provides the motivation for her site. To learn more about dogs or to find gifts and toys for them visit her site at Dog Gifts and Toys for Dog Lovers.
Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.
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