One of the most important decisions you will need to make to keep your dog healthy and happy will be the selection of a veterinarian. Like your own personal family doctor it is best to choose a vet who will get to know your dog, will have a history of vaccinations, health problems, allergies and other other information which will be valuable when health challenges arise.
There are a number of factors that you should consider when picking a veterinarian so that this practitioner will bethebest veterinarian for your dog.
Here’s some criteria we recommend:
- Ask friends and neighbors, local dog rescue groups and shelters about their experiences with individual vets, veterinary hospitals and clinics.
- Call the veterinary office and ask for an appointment to come in and visit the animal hospital. When you arrive take a good look around at how the facility is maintained. Is it neat and clean? Is the staff friendly and neat in appearance and demeanor?
- Ask how payment is handled. Do they accept pet insurance, credit cards, payment plans?
- What are the office hours? What about after hours and emergencies?
- Check out the kennel area? Are the dogs comfortable ? Are the cages clean and free of feces and do they have water and blankets, towels or other clean bedding? Are any of the animals in distress and unattended? Do you see any notes attached to the cages with instructions for special care?
- Ask the staff how exercise and fresh air time are handled for ambulatory pets? How often do they see the doctor? Who feeds them? Who gives them medication? Can you watch a dog get his meds? This is all important so that you can get an idea of the level of care and professionalism in any hospital
- Make sure to meet to the veterinarian If your dog is with you, how do they get along? If not, try to watch the vet interact with other pets in the office.
- Ask him/her how they treat different types of problems?
- Do they believe in holistic medicine ?
- What is their philosophy concerning vaccines? What do they feed their pets?
- How long have they been in practice? Where did she/he go to veterinary school? Do they have any advanced training?
- How do they handle referrals to a specialist if the need arises Which specialists do they work with? Are the specialists local? Can you contact them if your dog has a special problem?
Should I Choose a Holistic Veterinarian?
Whether you decide to choose a holistic or regular practitioner will ultimately be up to you, your comfort zone, philosophy of health care and other criteria such as accessibility, cost and needs.
A brief examination of what Holistic Vets do may be helpful.
It is important to understand that holistic vets are not the same thing as homeopathic vets.
Homeopathy, chiropractic, and botanical medicine are all examples of holistic medicine. Be sure to ask what forms of treatment a practitioner uses before making any decision.
Holistic Vets use a variety of alternative therapies , taking a general holistic approach to treatment. A vet may use acupuncture for example but not consider themselves a holistic vet because they subscribe to just one form of alternative treatment, acupuncture. For referrals and information contact theAmerican Holistic Veterinary Association
Homeopathic vetstreats the animal as a whole not by just suppressing symptoms, which is often the focus of traditional medicine. Homeopathic results may be slower than antibiotic or cortisone shots but you dog will be healthier and potentially live longer as a result. For referrals contact The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
For most dogs a vet that is a holistic vet who incorporates different approaches including homeopathy may be the best solution