Choosing A Veterinarian For Your Dog

Choosing a veterinarian for your best friend takes planning and research.

We have been very fortunate to have the same wonderful veterinarian for the last sixteen years. She has seen our dogs from puppyhood to their final breaths. She was there at two am when our three year old Yorkie found a box of tampons in the linen closet and proceeded to swallow one whole as we chased her to try and retrieve it. We were sure it would swell up in her stomach and cause major problems. All we had to do was leave a message on the Vet’s answering machine (which she has forwarded to her home) and within a very short time she called back and calmed our worries along with telling us what to watch for.

choosing a veterinarianChoosing a Veterinarian involves a lot more than credentials. A Veterinarian could graduate at the head of his/her class but if they do not love their profession and truly care for the animals they treat, you can get just as much help from a book or on-line.

You want to choose a Vet that you and your pet are compatible with. And the Veterinary staff are just as important.

Consider the follow when choosing a Veterinarian:

Get recommendations from friends with dogs. your groomer or dog trainer. If you are new to the area, you can go on-line to

After you narrow your search, visit the Veterinarians with a criteria list:

  1. Is the office clean, friendly and organized?
  2. Ask if the Veterinarian will be readily available for emergencies. We can’t always expect the Vet to be there 24/7 but within reason they should make themselves available.
  3. Will they work you in immediately if needed? Just like kids, dogs don’t get sick on schedule.
  4. Are there other Vets or Vet Techs in the office or will the Vet have a referral Vet available if she is out of town?
  5. While all professionals want and should have their fees immediately, will she work with you in an emergency? Of course, this arrangement usually comes with time as you build a relationship. You just don’t want a Vet that refuses to treat without payment.
  6. Does the staff show love and concern for the animals?
  7. Does the kennel room smell and look clean?
  8. Can they do x-rays, ultrasound, blood work and other diagnostic tests in-house or work with an outside specialist?
  9. Is their fee schedule reasonable?
  10. Will the Vet take time to explain each diagnosis and procedure or rush you through to get to the next appointment?
  11. Do they have an overnight staff to keep watch over pets that need to be hospitalized?
  12. If you are interested in holistic medicine, does the Vet share this approach?
  13. If you are interested in pet insurance, does the Vet accept it?

Take time when choosing a veterinarian for your dog. Introduce your dog to each prospect and observe the interaction. Don’t hesitate to ask for references and check them. Your dog’s health care is an important decision. Take it seriously and choose a veterinarian before you really need his services. Make sure the Vet you select is as concerned for your dog’s health as you are.

Keep Your Dog Safe From Dangers Hidden And In Plain View

Keep Your Dog Safe From Dangerous Situations

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Ah summertime, and the livin’ is easy! Endless days of sunshine and outdoor activities. After a long winter we are all ready for some summer relaxation. Unfortunately, the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer are fraught with danger for our canine friends. Winter can be equally hazardous to your dog. Extreme cold and potential frostbite are ever prevalent during winter months. Precautions are necessary year-round in order to keep your dog safe and healthy.


Sweating is the primary way the human body controls it’s temperature. Dogs lack this ability and must rely on cooling down through panting and the pads of their feet. Not terribly effective. Because of this we need to be very conscious of the following to keep your dog safe:

Always make sure your dog has an ample supply of fresh clean drinking water. Automatic waterers are great for this but if you don’t own one or are not ready to purchase one, make sure to use a non-tip bowl. Empty and refill it several times a day and more often if it is getting low. Keep the water in a shady area if it is outside. Adding a few ice cubes will help to keep it cool longer and keep your dog safe from the heat.

Many people trim their dog’s fur down in the summer. Just make sure it is not shaved too close or sunburn will be a painful result. The best advice is to keep your dog inside a cool house during the hottest part of the day. Limit your walks with your canine friend to early morning or evenings after it has cooled down. Best for you and him in keeping your dog safe from the heat.

One of the greatest dangers from heat lies within one of dog’s favorite activities, the coveted car ride. Head out the window, fur flying in the breeze (and all over the car and you), nothing could be finer in a dog’s mind. And, all is fine as long as the air conditioner is running. But summertime rides are best kept to short non-stop jaunts. Once the car stops and the air conditioner is off, the temperature starts to rapidly rise. The temperature inside the car can reach 120 degrees within a few minutes, even with the windows slightly open. A dog’s normal temperature is 101.5. At 107 brain damage can occur and at 120 he can suffer from heat exhaustion and die.


Dogs are not meant to endure exposure to very low temperatures any more than humans are. Take every precaution to shelter your dog from the elements. The best and most recommended way is to allow your dog to live indoors with you. Being social creature, dogs need the companionship of their family. If you must (and there is rarely a situation where you must) keep your dog outside, provide him with a warm, safe shelter).

Purchase an insulated dog house for your dog. Place it in an area blocked by the wind, such as behind your house or surrounded by a fence. Never, Never, under any circumstances, chain your dog. Provide him with a fence for safety so he can move about freely. Position the opening of the house away from the direction the wind is blowing. Keep warm, dry blankets in the house or better yet, a heated dog kennel mat and surround the house with bales of straw to provide further insulation against the wind and cold. Check regularly to assure that the bedding is dry.

Provide your dog with a heated water bowl to protect the water from freezing. Keep the water clean and free of debris and change it daily. Check throughout the day to be sure your heated dog dish stays full.


Bugs and bees can create a serious problem for your precocious pooch. Just as curiosity killed the cat, butting into a bug’s business can injure the dog. Bees may appear busy but they are never too busy to notice when a dog’s nose is checking out the same flower they have an interest in. A nasty sting is the likely result. This calls for first aid.  Make sure to keep some antihistamine on hand to help keep your dog safe, should he be allergic.

Ants flies and spiders can also cause some discomfort or even death in the case of a poisonous spider bite. There are some obvious symptoms that can indicate a bug bite. These would require first aid and possibly a speedy trip to the Vet. And of course, the annoying mosquito cannot be ignored. This warm weather pest can infect your beloved pet with the deadly heartworm if he is not on a heartworm prevention medication.

Flea infestation also escalates during the warm weather months. These pests love hot dry weather and multiply rapidly. Check your dog’s skin and coat thoroughly after each venture outdoors. There are many good products that can help to prevent these buggers from becoming a problem for your pet.


Many summer plants, while pretty to look at, can be irritating or deadly to eat or touch. There is a long list of plants that are dangerous for your pet because of their poisonous qualities. And there are those that are dangerous simply due to their structure.

Thorns from roses can become lodged in a sensitive paw and possibly cause infection if not swiftly removed. Check you dog’s paws regularly, especially if you notice him limping. If a thorn is found, remove it promptly and watch the dog closely to be sure his walking returns to normal. If not, a Vet. visit is the next step.

Even a harmless looking vine can become a hazard if your dog becomes tangled in it’s grasp. Better to keep them trimmed back.

The best prevention is to do a thorough scan of the area your dog plays in and eliminate any potential hazardous elements. In general, anything that would be a harmful plant to a child would also be harmful to your dog. Maybe even more so since dogs tend to scamper into smaller areas and are never cautious about anything.

Any season can be a great fun time for you and your dog with just a little thought and planning on your part. ENJOY!

Dog Pet Insurance Plans

Dog Pet insurance plans are becoming popular options for responsible dog owners. Pet owners are frequently faced with difficult decisions about pet health. Dogs often get sick, injured, or suffer from hereditary problems that require frequent visits to the local veterinarian or emergency facilities.
In the early 2000’s, veterinary costs started rising rapidly and people began looking to an option that has been available for over two decades in the United States, and for the better part of a century in Europe: Pet Insurance Plans.

Pet insurance plans may not be the right decision for every dog owner, as coverage and costs vary depending on factors, such as: options and conditions covered and the health and age of your dog. If you are considering pet insurance, there are some things to consider before making any final purchases. This is a purchase, after all, which will greatly affect the life of your pet, and you as the pet owner not only through your bank account, but your personal relationship with your pet as well.

Pet medical insurance works much the same way as human health insurance. Policy coverage depends on a number of variables such as age of pet, species and breed, and preexisting and hereditary health problems or concerns, and of course on the current health condition of your dog. For instance, pet insurance for olderdog-pet-insurance dogs will most-likely cost more than for a young dog. Careful consideration must be taken when choosing whether or not to purchase a dog health insurance. If you are someone who routinely brings your pet to have checkups, prescriptions, and general wellness care, a pet insurance plan may be something to look into. However you must also consider how much budget you will have and if it makes more sense to pay for the health and care of your pet over a spread out period of time through insurance payments, or if you have enough set aside in case your pet requires any major care such as surgery.

Veterinarians have broken a lot of ground in the abilities to care for pets and the procedures available. MRI scans are much more readily available than in the past, as well as radiation therapy and organ transplants. Along with these new procedures, the cost of veterinary care has raised sky high, with some procedures doubling in price. Veterinary care options that may seem small at first can increase the bill very quickly as well. Such things as overnight stays, shots and minor surgeries can quickly add to the cost. Insurance policies can cut down on the vet bill considerably, with some paying out as high as eighty and ninety percent. There are sometimes caps on pay out though, as well as other costs to the policy holder such as deductibles and co-payments. Pay out options also vary, with some companies offering a percentage on the entire vet bill and others offering a fixed rate depending on the policy agreement at the time of signing. Many pet insurance policies are available right away, of course depending on payment and underwriting procedures. Read the fine print; however, as some are limited for a probationary period and some policies exclude certain conditions and procedures. It is common for diseases such as hip dysplasia and certain other medical procedures to be excluded from insurance policy coverage, though not all companies exclude these. Also, some policies that have exclusions only exclude them for the first month, year, or other probationary period.

Payment for dog pet insurance is done the same way as health insurance for humans. Co-pays, deductibles, and monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual payments can be made to the insurance provider. Many policies allow you to keep your own veterinarian, and it is also common for insurance policies to allow you to use any licensed veterinarian in the country. This of course is very important to know if you plan to do any traveling with your dog, but make sure to find out if the policy you choose includes coverage on your pet when traveling outside of the area.

Often your veterinarian has worked with insurance companies in the past, or has clients who use insurance policy coverage on a regular basis and can give a good list of recommendations. Another option is bundle rates offered by the Veterinarian for things such as routine checkups, dental care, and medical prescriptions. This can be a smart choice for you depending on the needs of your pet and the commitment you as the dog owner want to make to the health and care of your pet.

With the large array of options available, it is important to do ample research and talk to your veterinarian about pet medical insurance. It may be the right decision for you to make regarding the health and care of your dog, and it has the potential to greatly assist in payments in case anything bad happens to your pet. It is becoming increasingly popular due to the continuous rise in veterinary costs and the new technologies that allow procedures that were not available even a few years ago to be available today. Expensive treatments such as MRI, radiation therapy, and transplant surgeries can be an option for pet owners with pet insurance that otherwise might have to say goodbye to a beloved part of the family. Your dog is an important and valued member of your family and he deserves the best care you can give. Dog pet insurance plans can be a valuable assist in allowing you to assure he has that care.