Q: My family just relocated from Florida and we need to find a new vet for our cat, Mr. Meow. How do we find a good vet? – Tom J. from Suwanee, GA
A: Just because a vet is conveniently located or has sent you a coupon, does not always make them the best. A good way to find a reputable veterinarian is to ask people who have the same approach to pet care as you. Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, animal shelter worker, dog trainer, groomer, kennel employee, or pet sitter. Another way to find a great vet that practices high quality medicine is to search for an American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited hospital in your area. Only 14% of veterinary clinics meet the high standards set by AAHA in areas such as medical care, records, and cleanliness. Once you’ve narrowed your search, schedule a visit to meet the staff, tour the facility, and learn about the hospital’s philosophy and policies. This is a reasonable request that any veterinarian should be glad to oblige. If they won’t give you a tour of their clinic and boarding facility, I don’t recommend taking your pet there!
Q: We want to get a puppy for the holidays. What is the best way to pick one out? – Mary from Buford, GA
A: There is no better present than a puppy as long as you have truly researched and planned for this long-term commitment! You really increase your odds of having that perfect relationship with your dog when you consider your age, health, living environment, lifestyle, family structure, work schedule, and personality first, then choose a breed and/or puppy that ‘fits’ with both your dreams of dog ownership and the practicalities of your lifestyle. Vets love to get calls from future puppy owners to discuss the general temperament and health concerns of your chosen breed. If you want a purebred puppy, be sure to go to a reputable breeder and meet both parents. Often the personality of the puppy (high energy, shy, easy going, etc.) is inherited from the parents. Check with your vet regarding how to investigate health issues ranging from hip dysplasia to allergies. Please don’t overlook rescuing a pet from a shelter, animal control, or rescue organization! Of course, complete vaccination and deworming records for your puppy should be included from the breeder’s or shelter’s veterinarian.
Ask Henry at sugarhillanimalhospital.com.