Veterinary Care: Choosing the Best Vet for Your Dog

Veterinary Care: Choosing the Best Vet for Your Dog

By Lisa Pallardy

Choosing a vet for your dog is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for him, so it’s important to take your time and make an informed decision.

Referrals from other pet-owners is a good place to start when looking for a vet. Even though your friends may have different expectations than you, at least you’ll have a list of good prospects to check out.

The first thing to consider is how you feel once you’re in the examining room. It doesn’t matter how many diplomas the vet has, or how many credentials are framed and hanging on the walls of his office. What really matters is that your dog — and YOU — feel comfortable. Make sure you can communicate well with your veterinarian, and that you feel comfortable asking any questions at all regarding your dog’s health. If you feel that your veterinarian isn’t taking the time to answer your questions in terms you can understand, it’s probably time to look for a new vet.

Ask what types of services are available at his/her particular clinic. It’s also important that you have a number to call in case of after-hours emergencies. If you plan to purchase pet health insurance, make sure the clinic you’re at accepts it.

Some vets consider some vaccinations essential, while others don’t. And some vets have a particular schedule for vaccinations, while you may have strong feelings about the extent to which your dog should be vaccinated. Be sure you and your potential veterinarian agree (or agree to disagree) on this important topic.

Once you’ve decided on the veterinarian you want to work with, don’t be a stranger. Your puppy will be visiting the clinic often, since most vaccination programs start at about 6-8 weeks of age and continue every few weeks until your pup is 3-4 months old.

Basic vaccinations, like the one for rabies, are absolutely necessary; however, depending on where you live, others may be optional.

Here’s a short list of suggested vaccinations, but we recommend checking with your veterinarian for the best advice for your particular breed and age of dog:

* Rabies * Parvovirus * Distemper

* Canine Hepatitus * Coronavirus * Parainfluenza

* Leptospirosis * Canine Cough * Lyme Disease

It’s also extremely important to protect your pet from heartworm. This is a potentially fatal infection that is caused by a parasite spread by mosquitoes, so it is simple to prevent. Be sure to talk with your vet about protecting your pet from this dangerous, life-threatening infection.

Lisa Pallardy is the owner of an interactive site for dog lovers to find articles and information on dog training and care, post photos of their pets, and talk with other dog-lovers. She is also the mother of 6 children and lover of 3 dogs. In her spare time, she makes greeting cards from children’s artwork at

For more articles like this one on dog care and dog training, or for links to resources where you can purchase dog supplies, visit

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