L.A. Dog Pros
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Dog Trainers, Pet Groomers, Veterinarians,
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A resource for Southern California dog lovers.
Finding the right Veterinarian can be one of the hardest things a pet owner will be tasked with. It's important to feel completely comfortable with those to whom you would entrust your pet's health care.
Because you live with your dog and observe him on a daily basis, you are the person most familiar with his normal state of being. A good vet knows this and will partner with a pet owner for the well being of their non-human clients. They will be interested in your observations and consider them when diagnosing and formulating a treatment plan.
When choosing a veterinarian for your pet, you should pay attention to a few key things. Obviously, office cleanliness is extremely important. Just as with people, the doctor's office is a place where your pet will likely encounter potentially contagious pathogens. Although this is a fact which is fairly unavoidable even in well run offices, the staff at a veterinary clinic can minimize the potential risks to their patrons by paying close attention to cleaning and sanitation. They can also be careful not to allow obviously sick animals to wait in the front office or waiting room where they will likely come in contact with others. Owners can do their part too, by keeping their pets on a leash or in a carrier and maintaining some distance from other pets at the clinic, especially important with very young animals, and older or ailing pets.
In addition, you should feel comfortable with the treatment that you and your pet receive: in the front office as well as the back. If you're not being treated respectfully, you might have reason to wonder about the treatment your pet receives when you are not present to advocate for them. And if you have serious or ongoing problems with the office staff, it's always a good idea to bring it to the attention of the veterinarian and give them a chance to resolve the issue. If they're uncaring about your concerns, it might be time to go shopping for a new vet.
Also, you should always feel comfortable speaking with your veterinarian about any concerns you have regarding your pet's health or treatment. If your veterinarian is not open to your input, or does not want to take the time to explain things to your satisfaction, or even becomes angry or defensive when you question something they are doing, then perhaps it's time to reconsider whether or not they're the right person for the job.
You take your dog to a veterinarian to access the benefits of their considerable expertise. They know about things that you do not, and as such they can provide you with valuable assistance toward providing your pet with the best possible care. But even having considered that, you're the person who lives with your pet day in and day out, and you possess important knowledge as well: such as knowing what is and isn't normal behavior for them. It's this that makes you uniquely qualified to identify abnormalities in your pet that a less familiar person might not recognize. A veterinarian who's primary interest lies in their patient's well being will take the time to listen to what an owner has to say, and include that owner in every step of the treatment process.
And finally, remember that if you receive a diagnosis that you're not completely comfortable with, you are always free to seek a second opinion. Too often, people feel uncomfortable or timid about double checking a medical diagnosis given during a health crisis. They worry that to do so would be insulting to their medical professional. As such, often even if they do persue more information, they subject their pet to another whole battery of tests rather than ask for a copy of the medical records to show to another vet. Remember, you are well within your rights to request a copy of your pet's records in order to have previously run tests or test results re-examined by another qualified veterinarian. It's simply a fact of life that every person is capable of making an error. That doesn't make them bad people or bad doctors, it's just a part of being human. If your veterinarian bristles when you express the desire for a second opinion, that's their own shortcoming, not yours. Advocating for your pet is your job.
You're the one who is ultimately responsible for your pet, and no matter how wonderful your veterinarian and their staff is, you're still the person who is the most deeply invested in their well being...after all, we're talking about
your best friend. And a good veterinarian never forgets that.
Disclaimer: Please be advised that this website is intended as a locater resource only and no specific recommendations are implied. Inclusion on this website should not necessarily be interpreted as an endorsement.
Please carefully research and qualify every pet care professional based on your specific preferences and needs before making your final decision.