10 Questions to Ask Your New Veterinarian

Did you get a new pet and need to find a veterinarian? Or maybe you moved to a new town and have to look for a new vet. There are lots of reasons why we might be in the market for a new veterinary practice to take care of our companion animals. But whether you’re a first-time pet owner or have cared for animals all your life, there are a few key questions you should be asking any new vet. We’ve gathered the best advice from the experts on what to ask a prospective vet:

1.What services are available at the practice? This includes things like X-ray and ultrasound, lab work, and EKG.

2. How does the vet handle emergencies? Some will take your call outside of office hours, some won’t. If they don’t, what emergency clinics do they recommend?

3. What is their vaccination “policy” in terms of what they think is essential vs. optional, and will they accommodate your preferences?

4. Does the practice recommend that you get pet insurance?

5. Do they have specialists on staff if they are large, or a good referral network of specialists if they are small?

6. What is the average time it takes to get an appointment? A few hours or a few days?

7. Do they have overnight care? Is there a staff member on-site 24 hours a day? Many practices, especially small ones, will not have this.

8. Do they have separate waiting rooms, exam rooms, and kennel areas for dogs and cats to reduce your pet’s stress?

9. What are their prices for typical procedures like dentals, annual check-ups, spay/neuter, and vaccinations?

10. Do they have payment plans, flexible payment schedules, or any special discounts for multiple-pet clients?

 

Ohio State University’s Indoor Pet Initiative Advocates for Your Pet’s Well-Being

Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has a great program called the Indoor Pet Initiative, which was created to enhance the health and welfare of our companion animals so that our pets can enjoy optimal well-being and thrive in a safe indoor environment.

As a non-profit that assists pet owners with emergency veterinary care, we have seen many sad cases in which cats and dogs allowed to roam outdoors have experienced life-threatening injuries from incidents like being hit by a car or being attacked by another animal.

The Indoor Pet Initiative provides a ton of information for both veterinarians and pet owners to ensure that our dogs and cats live long, healthy, and happy lives. What kind of information? Cat owners can learn about how to enrich the environments of indoor cats, as well as gain a greater understanding of what makes our cats tick. You can learn about how to solve common behavioral problems and identify stressors in your cat’s environment. They also have great information on the importance of microchipping your cat. Cat information is also available in Spanish!

For dog owners, you can check the website for lots of information on how to care for your dog from puppyhood to old age, including environmental enrichment techniques. Whether you have questions about crate training your puppy, introducing your dog to a new baby, or understanding your dog’s cognitive changes as she ages, you’ll find answers here.

Remember, along with spay/neuter, keeping your pet safely indoors is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the number of homeless animals in your community and improve your own pet’s quality of life.

 

A Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month Reading List

April 1st marks the beginning of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, one of the best-known animal awareness events. There are lots of ways you can help prevent animal cruelty…volunteering at your local shelter, donating to an animal charity, or helping to raise awareness about animal welfare issues through social media…to name just a few.

Here’s another great way to mark the occasion, and catch up on some reading, too! We’ve gathered some of the best books about animal welfare and put together a Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month reading list. Click on each title to learn more about the books on the website Goodreads.

The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America – A history of the American animal welfare movement, from the 1800s to the 1950s.

A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray – An award-winning children’s book about the lives of homeless pets.

Animal Liberation – The original (and many say still the best) book of the animal rights movement. A must read.

Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds – The classic story of Elsa the lioness, first published in 1960, but still guaranteed to make you cry.

Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals – This book covers a whole range of issues, from fashion, to circuses, to animal testing…and more.

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption – An uplifting and heartwarming follow-up to a very sad animal abuse story.

Until Every Animal is Free – An overview of the animal liberation movement.

The Plague Dogs – The story of two dogs that escape a cruel animal testing lab, by the author of Watership Down.

 

SoulPaws Recovery Project: Animal-Assisted Therapy Helps People with Eating Disorders

We’d like to share a bit of news about a project close to the heart of FACE’s very busy Humane Educator Annie Petersen: the SoulPaws Recovery Project. Besides the work she does with FACE to educate young people in our community about pets and animals, Annie has also worked with other organizations like the San Diego Humane Society and the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Annie, who holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Management, has also served as the President of the Association for Human-Animal Bond Studies. Currently, Annie works closely with an amazing organization called the SoulPaws Recovery Project, which she co-founded with Shannon Kopp. The mission of SoulPaws is to offer therapeutic support (including animal-assisted therapy) to those affected by eating disorders.

SoulPaws is dedicated to rescuing shelter animals and utilizing animal-assisted therapy to support sufferers of eating disorders. SoulPaws works with certified therapy animals as well as shelter animals. They also use other therapies like yoga, journaling, and art therapy. Their work was recently featured on the Huffington Post website. Be sure to check out the article and the SoulPaws website to learn more about this great non-profit.

We are very grateful to have such an amazing advocate as part of the FACE team. Thank you for all you do for the animals…and people…in our community, Annie!

 

Dogs and Chocolate Marijuana Edibles: A Toxic Combination

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A recent report in The New York Times highlights a dangerous and increasingly common health threat to our pets (especially dogs) – eating recreational or medical marijuana…and chocolate desserts that contain marijuana. Most pet owners know that they should keep chocolate, a known toxin, away from their animals. But if that chocolate brownie also happens to contain marijuana, your dog could be doubly at risk.

According to the article, consuming marijuana can cause symptoms like lethargy, unsteady gait, urinary incontinence, excessive salivation, and sensitivity to noise, light, and movements. But the ingestion of marijuana alone is rarely fatal. Your vet will induce vomiting and provide extra hydration during recovery. New York City’s Animal Medical Center reports that it treats several cases of pet marijuana poisoning every week.

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Consuming marijuana alone can be harmful enough, but if your dog consumes a chocolate marijuana edible like brownies, the effects could be life-threatening. The director of the ASPCA’s poison control center reports that any canine deaths from marijuana ingestion pretty much always involve the dog consuming chocolate as well.

The toxic component of chocolate, a compound called theobromine (combined with the chocolate’s caffeine) can cause vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, restlessness, increased heart rate, and excessive urination. In serious cases, dogs can experience tremors, seizures, and heart failure. Older dogs with underlying heart conditions can die. As with marijuana poisoning, your vet will induce vomiting and give extra fluids.

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It’s important to keep all forms of marijuana and chocolate out of your curious dog’s reach. When the two are combined into one edible, be especially careful to make sure your dog cannot access this tempting but potentially deadly food.