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You have a wonderful new Pyr puppy or dog and want what is best for him, including a vet who is proficient at handling giant breeds and understands their special needs. If you are fortunate enough to have a choice of vet clinics, how do you decide which to attend?

Presumably you have friends who own dogs, so will ask their opinion. This is worthwhile, but you need to make up your own mind, so make an appointment to go in and meet the vet, taking your dog with you of course. If this sounds presumptuous, you are paying the bill, and have a right to decide how you feel about the service you will be offered from the vet and his team.

Even the way you are greeted as you walk in can be reassuring - or not!

Here are some of the things you may like to discuss or ask:

Has the clinic any previous experience with Pyrs? This is not just an idle query, but it is important that the vet understands the peculiarities of Pyrs - eg., that our breed has a slow metabolic rate and does not need as large a dose of certain drugs such as anaesthetics, per kilo of body weight, as most breeds. It is also important that they realise the double dewclaws are a natural feature of the breed and a requirement of the breed standard, they do not cause problems and definitely should not be removed.

If your dog has any particular health issues, discuss that with the vet. Also, if you have strong preferences regarding diet, you may like to mention this.

Will you, as far as possible, be able to take an active part in the treatment of your dog? Many owners like to be involved with such things as holding the dog for minor procedures, briefly visiting the dog if he has to remain for a couple of days, supplying his regular diet in such cases, etc. Some vets permit owner participation when possible, though owners must understand that clinics are very busy and there are times when participation is not possible.

Ask about home visits, either in the case of a very ill or old dog who may benefit from a home visit, or for certain procedures such as Artificial Insemination and Whelping assistance if you intend to breed.

Some people want to know if alternative health care is available at the clinic. Many vets now know or have someone on the staff who is knowledgeable about holistic methods of veterinary care. If this is not the case, some vets have no objection to the use of alternative or complementary treatment such as homeopathy from a practitioner of your choice, in conjunction with the treatment supplied by the vet - providing that you discuss this with the vet in advance and keep the vet fully informed of such treatments at all times. This may include such treatments as the use of homeopathic rather than conventional vaccines, or perhaps chiropractic treatment as a possible alternative to drugs or surgery.

The availability of emergency services is important. It is annoying to find that you may be referred to another clinic at weekends, but arrangements will depend on the number of clinics / vets in your area. Your vet has to take time off !

You will also want to note the way your vet or his staff interact with both you and your dog and the way your dog responds to the vet and staff. A clean, bright, well organised clinic with a welcoming atmosphere will do much to reassure you.

If you have more than one dog, or multiple pets, you may ask about discounts.

For puppies, ask about Puppy Preschool Classes.

There may be other points which you need to consider, such as the distance from your home to the clinic if you live in a rural area, but it is worth putting some thought into your choice, to ensure that both you and your dog are happy.

Finally, remember that you can ask your breeder for advice on minor health or behavior problems if you are unsure whether a vet visit is necessary. But if the dog is obviously ill or distressed, head straight for the vet of your choice !



{ vaccines} { dewclaws} { bee-stings} { behavior}