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Planning for Your Dog's Health Care

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Your Dog's First Visit to the Veterinarian

During your pet's appointment, your veterinarian will likely ask you a few common questions. Consider these questions before you arrive to ensure an efficient check up.

1. How long have you had your pet?

2. Where did you adopt him or her?

3. What vaccinations has your pet had? When?

4. What do you feed your pet?

5. Is your pet drinking more or less water than usual?

6. Has your pet lost or gained weight?

7. Has your pet displayed any odd behavior or symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or vomiting?

8. Does your pet go outside?

9. Has your pet ever suffered any serious medical condition?

Contact your veterinarian to schedule a health screening for your pet. Be sure to ask your veterinarian when you should schedule your pet's next appointment.

Before adopting a dog, take a moment to consider the amount of care your pet will require and your ability to provide that care. Too often a cute face and wagging tail inspires individuals to bring home dogs without really considering the amount of time and financial resources required to raise healthy and happy dogs. As a result, animal shelters fill and pets do not receive the care they deserve.

Budget

Before adopting, look at your household budget. Dogs should have a yearly check-up at the veterinarian and get the required vaccines. Don’t forget the daily expense of pet food, medications, toys, and other supplies. Keep in mind, the bigger the animal, the higher the cost. Before you settle on adopting a St. Bernard or Great Dane, consider the quantity of food the animal will require and how much room your budget has to accommodate your new pet's appetite. Remember to calculate your pet's average expenses into your monthly budget as well as a reserve emergency savings for any accidents or unexpected trips to the veterinarian. If you don’t have emergency savings available, pet insurance might be a responsible option; the monthly cost will be consistent and most of your pet's veterinary care will be covered. You can check on-line to compare the dozen pet health insurance companies. Be sure to ask about exclusions or what is not covered. You can always contact your veterinary office for information about the specific cost of care.

Veterinary Appointments

Regular veterinary appointments are necessary for your dog's welfare. When bringing a new puppy or dog home, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to screen your pet for any unknown conditions and to make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Your veterinarian will also help you select the best food for your dog, answer any questions you might have about making your home safe for your dog, and help you to provide the best care for your pet throughout its different stages of life.

Planning Ahead

Planning for a dog's future is often overlooked, but should always be taken into consideration. If you have a dog at home, carry a pet emergency notification card in your wallet. If something prevents you from returning home, an emergency contact will be notified that your pet is in need of care in your absence. Establish either a formal or informal agreement with a trusted individual who will be able to care for your pet in your absence. Be sure this individual will have the time and financial resources which your pet needs. Keep a pet folder with all of your pet's information (medications, food, habits/behavior, and veterinary records) and instructions with your other important documents.

Sources:

American Veterinary Medical Association

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

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Testimonial

Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.

The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.

Sung L.
Rupert, ID

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