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choosing a veterinarian

When we first adopted our puppies, I thought it was best to go to Yelp when choosing a veterinarian for your dog; the ratings and reviews will tell me all I need to know, right?  When we first took our dogs to the veterinarian, I received a huge dose of judgment, because we had adopted littermate puppies.  For those of you who don't know what a big deal this can be, let me enlighten you…

  • littermates will bond more to each other and not to the humans
  • littermates fight (often doing damage to each other) for dominance
  • littermates are expensive, harder to train, and a lot more work
  • many feel that humans will become so overwhelmed that one or both of the littermates will end up at the shelter

This is such a controversial choice for some that a dog trainer once told me that I was the type of person who would get bored with our dogs and take them in to be euthanized.  She's a peach.

Me and the puppies, Sydney, Rodrigo, 8 Weeks Old, choosing a veterinarian

The afternoon we brought our puppies home.

Our veterinarian (at the time) wasn't a fan of our choice either and although he didn't say anything, he wore his judgment all over his face.  We were able to show him with each subsequent visit that we love our dogs and were taking good care of them, so I guess we became the exception to the rule, but eventually I realized that we needed a new vet.

Besides education and experience, these 5 tips will help when choosing a veterinarian for your dog…

1.  Open Minded Attitude – we feed our dogs a raw food diet, we believe in holistic and natural alternatives, and I detox our dogs with Milk Thistle after a topical flea treatment.  Yep, I need an open minded vet.  What would be even better is a vet that offers up even more suggestions that are in line with how you raise your dog.

2.  Not Married to a Pet Food Brand – I don't mind seeing Science Diet or Frontline when I visit the vet, but I don't want to work with a vet who is constantly pushing these products on this clients.  There are tons of brands out there and we should be empowered to do the research and find the ones that work for our family; not be pressured into their choice.  These brands represent a choice, not the only choice.

3.  Easy to Talk To – as a pet blogger, I do a lot of research on dog health and nutrition and will come to a vet appointment armed with good information and misinformation.  I count on our vet to help me figure out what's right and what's not so right.  Our former vet became visibly agitated when I tried to raise a discussion about dog health.  I became afraid to mention anything to our vet and eventually stopped going.  Our current veterinarian welcomes these discussions.

4.  Honesty with No Scare Tactics – years ago, I went to a veterinarian who tried to push a bunch of procedures on me with my cat.  By the time our appointment was over I felt that our cat was at Death's door and I was a terrible feline mom.  I think it's important to share the facts, but manipulative tactics aren't fair.  They know how much we love our pets.  If you feel in anyway manipulated by a vet, Run!

5.  What do They Specialize In – this is an important one.  If your vet isn't set up to take a hard case, then you may be spending more money than you anticipated, because you have to take your dog to a specialist or a specialist needs to be consulted.  Find out what type of care your new veterinarian can offer.  Is it a veterinarian's office or an animal hospital?  Compare services, rates, distance from home, and take into account Tips 1-4 in determining if this is the place for your and your dog.

I know that this list can be longer, but I want to get your thoughts too.  Our list can help new dog parents.

What have you learned about choosing a veterinarian for your dog?  

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