Dog Medical Advice
Dog Medical Advice 101
How to Choose a Veterinarian
Some of the most important dog medical advice you'll ever get is how to choose a veterinarian for your dog. Keep in mind that the relationship is likely going to be a long one, so you need to be very careful about the choice you make.
Things to consider:
- Office location: It's to your own advantage to choose a vet close to your own neighborhood. While this is merely convenient for routine checkups, it can be crucial in an emergency, when every minute spent traveling could mean the difference between life and death for your dog.
- Office hours: Veterinary office hours run the gamut these days. In the past, clinics tended to close up at 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, making it difficult for many of us to make an appointment without taking off early from work. When you choose a vet, ask what their standard hours of operation are. If you're lucky, you'll be able to find a clinic that also offers evening and Saturday appointments; this can eliminate the need for an expensive after hours visit to an emergency vet.
- Emergency services: Ask if your potential vet is available for emergencies, regardless of what the clinic hours are. If the answer is no, find out where the office will refer you to so you can do a bit of homework on that clinic as well.
- Staff: You'll need to find out if there is more than one vet on staff at the clinic you are considering. An obvious advantage to having multiple vets is that it's usually easier to get an appointment when you need one, as long as you are flexible about which vet will see your pet.
- Communication: It's not always easy to judge whether you'll be able to communicate effectively with a particular vet until you worked with him/her a while. In the best circumstances, you'll find the two of you share an immediate rapport. In the worst circumstances, you might be told the vet doesn't have time to answer your questions right now. In most cases, you'll probably find the situation is somewhere between these two extremes, but you'll need to able to get veterinary advice for a sick dog when you need it.
- Fees: Money talk shouldn't be avoided. Find out up front the cost of the standard office call and the fee for routine services such as booster shots, worming, spaying/neutering, etc.
- Other services: You never know when you might need a safe place to board your dog. Many veterinary offices also have a grooming shop on the premises. If you happen to find a clinic that offers these side-services, it will make life just that much more convenient for you and your dog will be less stressed returning to an environment he's already familiar with.
Dog First Aid Kit
It's sound dog medical advice to keep a well stocked first aid kit on hand for your pet, just as you would for the rest of your family. In a pinch, you'll have the supplies you need to offer temporary care until you can get your dog to the vet.
Useful items include, but are not limited to:
- Vet's phone number
- Emergency vet's phone number
- Phone number for poison control
- Pedialyte for dehydration
- NutriCal nutritional supplement that aids recovery from shock
- Sterile saline to rinse wounds and eyes
- Cotton balls
- Antibiotic cream
- Benadryl for allergic reactions and itching
- Activated charcoal to absorb accidentally ingested poisons
- Rolls of gauze for bandages or make-shift muzzles
- First aid adhesive tape
- Roll of adhesive Vet Wrap
- Tweezers to pull out splinters and ticks
- Nail clippers and styptic powder
- Clean towel to use as a blanket or emergency sling
- Rectal thermometer (Normal dog temperature is 100-102 degrees F.)
Routine Veterinary Care
Follow this pet health advice, and you're bound to eliminate a lot of dog medical problems right from the start: don't neglect your dog's routine health care.
- Make sure your dog receives all its vaccinations according to your vet's recommendations.
- Schedule an annual health checkup for your pet.
- Have your dog's stool examined for worms every six months.
- Take immediate action against flea infestations.
- Provide your dog with the best possible nutrition.
- Provide adequate shelter from the elements.
- Be sure your dog receives moderate daily exercise to keep him physically fit and mentally stimulated.
All the dog medical advice in the world won't help your pet unless you pay attention to your dog's condition.
Take time each day to give your dog a quick once over to make sure all is as it should be. You'll appreciate knowing your pet is either all right, or in the beginning stages of a problem that will be far easier to treat due to your early detection. Your dog will appreciate the extra time spent together.