Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finding a Vet - Choosing the Right Caregiver for Your Pet

Proper health care for your cat or dog is important. Consequently, choosing the right veterinarian is no small matter. Like other doctors, all vets are not alike and neither are animal clinics. Doing a little "legwork" before your pet needs medical attention can make a great deal of difference when the need arises.
Just to be clear, this is not about good or bad veterinarians. Vets are health care professionals and as such have invested a considerable amount of time and money to establish and maintain their practices. This requires the kind of dedication that comes from the desire to help. Simply put, vets do what they do because they love animals and have the best interests of their patients in mind. This is about finding the doctor or clinic that best suits your needs and those of your pet or pets.

Research: See who is available. So, where do you start when it's time to find a doctor for Fido or Fluffy? At the risk of stating the obvious, the first step is to find the vets or clinics in your area. Start with the 2 most popular resources: the Yellow Pages and the internet. This will give you a list of possibilities along with phone numbers and addresses. The odds are good that many listings or websites will also provide more information, such as the specialties of a particular vet, the clinic where he or she practices, etc. So, after this simple step, you should have a wealth of data at your fingertips. That was easy, wasn't it?

Networking: Get some opinions. Now it's time to see what you can find out about those vets and/or clinics. Start by asking around. Your friends and family are a great resource. If you've just moved to a new neighborhood, ask your neighbors if they can recommend someone. A possible bonus to this approach, of course, is the opportunity to meet your new neighbors and their pets. (note from Bonnie & Sushi - if you can find a reputable vet knowledgeable/familiar with the Shiba Inu, that's a bonus!)

Now, for those of you thinking, "Why not just call the closest clinic and make an appointment?", that would certainly be one approach. On the other hand, there's nothing quite like a "word of mouth" endorsement. A little networking may also bring other points to light, like pricing. Unless your pet needs to be seen right away, it's probably worth a little bit of your time to check around before picking up the phone.

Direct Contact: Check it out for yourself. Once you've gathered any information you can, you're ready to start making those calls. If one particular vet or clinic is well recommended, it makes sense to make that one first on your call list. Don't just jump right into making an appointment, however. Talk with the vet or a staff member about any special needs your pet has, the specialties of the doctor or doctors, emergency services and any other concerns you may have. Don't be embarrassed to ask about fees for checkups, shots or any other services. Your pet's health is your primary concern, but it's important to know how hard your pocketbook is going to be hit.

If things sound promising, ask when you might be able tour the facility and meet the staff. While this may sound unusual, it is actually quite common and most animal clinics will be happy to oblige. This will give you an opportunity to determine your comfort level with the caregivers and the environment.

While each pet owner will have some concerns of their own, here are a few items you way want to check:

Cleanliness Comfort for your pet: Is there a convenient area outside for your pet to relieve him/herself?

Is the waiting area large enough to keep pets separated?

Services and Equipment available on-site:

Emergency/trauma services




EKG Lab work (blood, etc.)

Surgery Dental procedures

Boarding (Check for comfort and safety.)

Grooming Staff: Courteous and knowledgeable?

Parking/Loading Hours and availability: Evenings? Weekends?

After hours: Is a doctor on call for emergencies? (note from Bonnie & Sushi - quite a few clinics have no onsite staff after hours!)

If possible (and if you won't be charged for an initial visit), take your pet along for the tour. If your dog or cat is comfortable with the surroundings and staff, you're probably on the right track.

Last, but not least, remember that a little courtesy on your part will go a long way. Don't be rude or impatient; you're dealing with a medical facility and staff and their chief priority should be the health and welfare of the patients they're seeing. This also applies after you've chosen a veterinarian or animal clinic. Try to keep your appointments and arrive a few minutes early. If you need to reschedule, do so as early as possible. Handle payment and billing issues promptly. Control your pet when you're in the clinic. Keep in mind that these people are the second most important in your pet's life.

(note from Bonnie & Sushi - remember, your pet is YOUR responsibility and it trusts you to make the best decisions. Do not be afraid to ask questions during vet visits, and do not be afraid to say "no" if something just doesn't feel right. You can take some time to think about your decisions. You CAN find another vet.)

Doc Crandell has worked closely with animal care professionals since childhood. He now writes pet-related content for, a retailer of quality gifts and accessories for pets and pet lovers. Visit their online store for unique items like dog costumes and clothing and cat lover's fashion accessories.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Snack 'n Snooze Homemade Pet Products

Hi everyone,

Mom has decided to give the pet product business a shot. She says that I'M the inspiration for this (and our cats, too, humph!).

Anyways, she makes everything herself, mostly specializing in custom fleece pet beds - nice & cozy for this time of year! She also bakes dog treats - peanut butter (my fav!), cheese & chicken, and also had catnip toys and dog tug toys.

Snack 'n Snooze is on Etsy! You can contact my Mom through etsy or by her email if you have any questions or want something custom made.

Snack 'n Snooze will also be at Dogtoberfest this year, roohoo!!!!