Your new puppy has arrived and has been christened with the fitting name “Baxter”. It just seemed to fit that fluffy little morsel of puppydom. The kids are over the moon with puppy joy and you seem to be making great strides in becoming rather an accomplished dog owner. It’s time to start putting together the resources that are going to make life with Baxter simpler, healthier and better for the whole family.
Dogs require their own little support system just like kids do. As the days pass, burning questions arise:
- How do I find a great veterinarian?
- What about when it’s time to have Baxter groomed?
- Can I find his puppy food at the local Petsmart or do I need to order a supply?
- What about when we go out of town? Do we board or have a pet sitter?
- Do I need a dog walker?
- What about pet insurance?
FEAR NOT! I, the Puppy Diva am here to help you navigate the sometimes murky waters of building a doggie support system for your new four-footed canine companion.
Finding A Great Veterinarian
Because your relationship with Baxter’s veterinarian will likely be a long one, you’ll want to find a doctor who is a good fit for not only your new puppy but, also a great fit for you as well. After all, since Baxter can’t talk, you’ll be doing most of the communicating with his caregiver.
Most importantly, you want a skilled practitioner. I’ve worked with many wonderful vets in my long and varied career in dogs. The best of them were veterinarians who had been out of school for some years and had enough experience to know when an issue was serious and worth looking into further. Perhaps just as important? The vets that knew when my concerns were minor and were confident enough to keep me steered on the right path medically.
Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate the ones who were also a bit more conservative in their approach in regards to my pocketbook, while still giving excellent care to my beloved pets.
As I said, I’ve worked with some really great veterinarians over the years, I’ve also worked with more than a few who were a disappointment in any number of ways.
Some simply lacked a real love for dogs. That is the most important quality I look for. After wisdom and great instincts medically, I want a doctor who really loves dogs, who really cares about my dogs.
Some veterinarians can be too quick to go to great lengths to do unnecessary often extremely expensive testing.
Others can insist or procedures that upon further inspection, may not have been necessary in the first place . This is where inexperience can play a role in Baxter not receiving the best care possible. If your practitioner is very young or fresh out of college, it’s likely that he or she simply hasn’t been in practice long enough to have seen a large number of pets and their dizzying array of varied conditions. A more experienced doctor will be less likely to spend thousands of dollars on testing or procedures unless he really feels confident that they are prudent and important for your dog’s well-being.
I’ve known others who are anxious to medicate with all the nuclear weapons in their pharmaceutical toolbox at the first sign of a sniffle. As I tend to prefer a cautious approach, and one that relies heavily on natural solutions and support to my dog’s health, I’ve had to be an advocate for what I did and didn’t want to do when it came to my dog’s care, you will need to do the same.
You’ll want a veterinarian who is willing to listen to your concerns. Someone who is caring and compassionate, experienced and has a personality that’s a good fit with you and Baxter as well. It sounds like a daunting task, finding your own perfect canine practitioner, but take heart! There are shortcuts on every journey including this one.
My best advice?
Seek out dog owning friends and family members and grill them extensively. Ask which clinic they are using? Are they happy with the care their pets have been given? Have charges seemed excessive? Do their pets receive kind treatment (huge!)? Often word of mouth is the very best way to find a great vet, and perhaps avoid a not so wonderful one!
One last thing, don’t be afraid to move on to another clinic if you find after the first visit that you and Baxter just didn’t “click” with your new doctor. You’re not duty bound to stay with the first animal hospital you try. Mark it up to experience learned and do a bit more asking around, a few more Google searches, and I’m confident you’ll find a dog-doctor that you’ll be happy to take Baxter to for the long-term.
The next step on your dog owning journey?
Finding the right DOG GROOMER!
Click HERE for my best tips on dog groomer delight or despair!