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Choosing a Vet For Your Dog - A Dog Owners Checklist

Most dogs live between ten and seventeen years. The relationship you have with your veterinarian is going to be a long one. It's a worthwhile investment of your time and energy to shop around carefully to find a vet whom you'll be comfortable with for years. If you don't feel that you can communicate openly and honestly with your animal doctor, then keep searching.

The first thing you should look for in a vet is someone who you believe will be able to communicate with you. This person's first job will be to diagnose what's ailing your dog or to try and figure out why your pet is behaving a certain way. Next, the vet should be able to explain the problem to you in a way that you can understand. The vet should then be open to any questions you need answered until you feel fully satisfied and confident that you know what your dog needs and how you can take care of it. You shouldn't stop searching until you find a vet who is both qualified and personable enough for you.

There are many resources to help you find the best veterinarian. No matter where you live, start out by asking friends or other family members. You might ask questions such as: Who do you use? Does he explain what's ailing your animal clearly? Is he good with certain breeds? If they know of a qualified vet, they may save you a lot of searching.

Another option, growing ever popular, is an online search. Many chat-rooms, newsgroups and clinic web pages are both valuable and innovative methods of assessing what's available. Additionally, if you can find the contact information to a private rescue clinic (many of which are not in the phone book) online, you may be able to ask them which vets they have worked with.

Once you have a list to choose from, you can call or even visit different clinics. You first question should be in regard to their office hours. Are they open late? Do they have an emergency service phone number available? Are they open on weekends? Again, this would be just in case there's ever an 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 handling animals, especially dogs carefully? If your dog is large, can they handle him without injuring or frightening him more? One ingenious way to find this out is to schedule a "nail clipping" appointment. Don't test ten different veterinary clinics in one week, as this will tire your dog excessively. Visit the clinic for a preliminary test of all that has been stated. This will get you on the "inside" and will help you make a well-founded, first-hand appraisal of the clinic and its faculty.

There are a few final issues to resolve before your assessment is over.

  • Is the clinic is a multi-doctor clinic, or a one-person show.
  • If there are many doctors, can you choose a veterinarian who will work with you and your dog exclusively?.
  • What are the charges for basic services (vaccinations, nail clipping)?.
  • What types of payment do they accept?.
  • Are there low cost vaccinations available?.
  • Are the veterinarians on staff a part of any continuing educational programs?.
  • Is the facility up-to-date with the latest practices and technology (diagnostic, surgical, laser, ultrasound, and aftercare services)?.
  • Will they allow you to tour the boarding facilities?.
  • Are these facilities clean?.

Again, getting an inside view of the place will help you answer 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 dog part of the family. Rest assured that you have done your part 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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