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You And Your Dog's Vet: Cementing a Good Relationship - Part One

Updated on April 10, 2012

Know Your Pet And Be Prepared

After you have chosen the right Vet for your beloved canine, it is time to establish a strong and good working relationship. It is essential that you and the Vet work together to create the best health care system possible for your dog. Failure for you to do so can result in problems. This could result in unnecessary tests and missed medication; failure to make follow-up visits and miscues on treatment. If you wish only the very best for your pet, you have to consider how best to communicate with your Vet.

Know Your Canine

It is important to understand your dog. You must be aware of any indications of illness. You need to be aware when he or she is “off-colour” or “out-of-sorts.” This will allow you to understand the state of your animal’s health.

As soon as you are aware of something being “off”, make a note of it. You can do so mentally, or record it on paper, computer or hand-held device. Note any changes. By understanding your dog’s history, your vet can help treat him or her with the best care. In this way, you may also avoid unnecessary tests.

Go Prepared

When you go to the Vet’s, be sure you have the notes or records with you. Be sure, you can talk to your Vet coherently about what is wrong. Make sure, he or she is aware of your specific concerns and addresses them. Your Vet will ask questions. Be prepared to answer them. They may be simple.

· How long has he or she been acting this way?

· Did you bring in a urine or fecal sample?

· What comprises your dog’s diet?

· Have you changed the food lately?

· Could she or he have gotten into something unusual?

· Does he or she have a history of...

You should also come prepared to ask the Vet questions. Do not be afraid to query about what he or she is doing. Do ask about the type of medication suggested. Find out about side effects and any other issues concerning the drug. You might also want to go online or read up on the breed of dog, potential health issues and the dog’s symptoms BEFORE you go to the Vet’s. This will provide you with some information that may help in the diagnosis or at least give you an idea of what your Vet may say.

After the visit, go online or look in a book on the subject, to learn more about the treatment. Check up on the medications prescribed. Do your research on the suggested therapies. Explore what others say about the health issues and read about the methods used. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to phone the Vet’s. It will at least indicate you are truly interested and involved in your dog’s health.

One caution - do so with diplomacy. Do not insult the Vet and imply he or she is wrong unless you are certain this is the case. If you have doubts about treatment, consider getting a second opinion. This will help allay any fears. It could also result in you deciding this Vet is not the one for you and your canine.


The responsibility for your canine’s medical wellbeing extends beyond finding a Veterinarian. It also relies on your ability to understand the health issues of your pet. You must also be able to communicate with your vet. Do research, keep records and do not be afraid to ask questions. Part 2 will look at the Virtue of Patience and the Need To Be Compliant.


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      Diane Ward 5 years ago

      Very concise and full of useful information