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How to Choose a Vet (in 10 Steps)

Your pet is a member of your family, and when it comes to his health care, it’s important to look for the best. Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or you’re looking to up the quality of your current animal care, there’s much to consider in your pet’s new doc. Keep in mind that this person should not only have a caring touch, but also be fully capable of handling any emergency situation that could arise. The hardest time to select a vet is when the need is urgent, so take the opportunity to scout around for the best choice now. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter what happens with your buddy, you have a great veterinarian on call.
License and Accreditation: You certainly wouldn’t visit an unlicensed doctor for your own healthcare, and your pet deserves the same. A professional license to practice in your state is required, and although a membership with the American Animal Hospital Association is not mandatory, it offers a step up in knowing your pet is in good hands. Additional training and certifications should be noted, particularly if your pet has specific health concerns that require specialized knowledge. Check your state’s requirements and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of certifications; responsible vets will have these clearly posted in their clinics.
Referrals: The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to say about the care they were provided at the veterinarian you are researching? Good and bad experiences should be noted, specifically those that made all the difference in the satisfaction of the client. How reasonable are the charges? How thorough are the examinations? Was the vet friendly, approachable, easy to talk to? These are all questions you should ask of those who have had their fur babies treated at the vet you are considering.
Connection with the Community: Pay attention to the vet’s connection within the community, something that can be very telling determining the kind of person this vet is with animal care. Does the veterinary clinic provide discounted services to rescued dogs, or discounted fees for spaying or neutering a new pet? A caring vet will reach out to the community as an advocate for proper animal care, serving as an example of how to treat our constant companions with respect and kindness.
Personal Touch: Busy veterinarians can struggle with allotting the proper time for each pet, and it’s not always easy to spend as much time as they would truly like to with your pet. However, a good vet will not lost the personal touch with your pet, regardless of how busy the day is or how many patients are waiting to be seen. Your pet is important, and you should never feel as though your visit is being rushed or that your concerns are being ignored. Sometimes an extra few minutes just to pet your dog or give him a special treat can make all the difference in both your pet’s experience at the vet, and yours!
Diet and Exercise Knowledge: A great way to keep your pet from visiting the vet for more than an annual visit is to provide the right food and treats along with an exercise program, and a good vet recognizes these natural life and health boosters. Responsible vets are knowledgeable about the right program for your pet, and they advocate for proper diet and exercise.
Continued Education: The medical profession is constantly changing, with new and exciting updates in healthcare happening every day. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and a worthy veterinarian will consistently update his knowledge with new techniques and treatments. Many veterinarians receive regular training to keep skills fresh and learn about new options for animal care, and your vet should do the same.
Office Maintenance: Hospitals and doctor offices are kept sanitized and sterilized for a reason, and veterinary clinics should be no exception. Ask for a tour of a vet before signing your pet onto the registry; a worthy clinic should have no problem showing you everything from the kennels to the surgery, and everything should be clean and orderly.
Staffing Requirements: When your pet is being seen at an animal hospital, he comes into contact with many other members of the staff, and each of these individuals should be properly trained and certified. It’s okay to ask the vet about his staffing requirements, what is required of each position, and who would be involved in the care and keeping of your best friend.
Office Hours and Location: Ideally, your vet is located close enough to be reached in an absolute emergency fairly quickly, and the office hours the vet keeps is critical as well. While many vets do not provide 24-hour service, they should at least provide the contact information for those who do. Routine treatments and annual visits need not be handled urgently, but when every second counts, you want a veterinarian who is on call and ready to handle any emergency.
The Most Important Vote: Trust your pet’s instincts when it comes to choosing a vet. It is, after all, his doctor, and it should be someone that he trusts, even during times of sickness or injury. Of course your pet doesn’t get the same excited feeling pulling in to the vet as he would the dog park, but there should be some level of “hey, I know these guys!” that puts your dog at ease. Your vet  and his or her staff should always try to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable for your pet as they can.
Take a few extra steps and check references, do your research and make sure a vet is the right choice for you and your pet. A little extra time spent in the decision can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your best friend.

Your pet is a member of your family, and when it comes to his health care, it’s important to look for the best. Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or you’re looking to up the quality of your current animal care, there’s much to consider in your pet’s new doc. Keep in mind that this person should not only have a caring touch, but also be fully capable of handling any emergency situation that could arise. The hardest time to select a vet is when the need is urgent, so take the opportunity to scout around for the best choice now. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter what happens with your buddy, you have a great veterinarian on call.

License and Accreditation: You certainly wouldn’t visit an unlicensed doctor for your own healthcare, and your pet deserves the same. A professional license to practice in your state is required, and although a membership with the American Animal Hospital Association is not mandatory, it offers a step up in knowing your pet is in good hands. Additional training and certifications should be noted, particularly if your pet has specific health concerns that require specialized knowledge. Check your state’s requirements and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of certifications; responsible vets will have these clearly posted in their clinics.

Referrals: The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to say about the care they were provided at the veterinarian you are researching? Good and bad experiences should be noted, specifically those that made all the difference in the satisfaction of the client. How reasonable are the charges? How thorough are the examinations? Was the vet friendly, approachable, easy to talk to? These are all questions you should ask of those who have had their fur babies treated at the vet you are considering.

Connection with the Community: Pay attention to the vet’s connection within the community, something that can be very telling determining the kind of person this vet is with animal care. Does the veterinary clinic provide discounted services to rescued dogs, or discounted fees for spaying or neutering a new pet? A caring vet will reach out to the community as an advocate for proper animal care, serving as an example of how to treat our constant companions with respect and kindness.

Personal Touch: Busy veterinarians can struggle with allotting the proper time for each pet, and it’s not always easy to spend as much time as they would truly like to with your pet. However, a good vet will not lost the personal touch with your pet, regardless of how busy the day is or how many patients are waiting to be seen. Your pet is important, and you should never feel as though your visit is being rushed or that your concerns are being ignored. Sometimes an extra few minutes just to pet your dog or give him a special treat can make all the difference in both your pet’s experience at the vet, and yours!

Diet and Exercise Knowledge: A great way to keep your pet from visiting the vet for more than an annual visit is to provide the right food and treats along with an exercise program, and a good vet recognizes these natural life and health boosters. Responsible vets are knowledgeable about the right program for your pet, and they advocate for proper diet and exercise.

Continued Education: The medical profession is constantly changing, with new and exciting updates in healthcare happening every day. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and a worthy veterinarian will consistently update his knowledge with new techniques and treatments. Many veterinarians receive regular training to keep skills fresh and learn about new options for animal care, and your vet should do the same.

Office Maintenance: Hospitals and doctor offices are kept sanitized and sterilized for a reason, and veterinary clinics should be no exception. Ask for a tour of a vet before signing your pet onto the registry; a worthy clinic should have no problem showing you everything from the kennels to the surgery, and everything should be clean and orderly.

Staffing Requirements: When your pet is being seen at an animal hospital, he comes into contact with many other members of the staff, and each of these individuals should be properly trained and certified. It’s okay to ask the vet about his staffing requirements, what is required of each position, and who would be involved in the care and keeping of your best friend.

Office Hours and Location: Ideally, your vet is located close enough to be reached in an absolute emergency fairly quickly, and the office hours the vet keeps is critical as well. While many vets do not provide 24-hour service, they should at least provide the contact information for those who do. Routine treatments and annual visits need not be handled urgently, but when every second counts, you want a veterinarian who is on call and ready to handle any emergency.

The Most Important Vote: Trust your pet’s instincts when it comes to choosing a vet. It is, after all, his doctor, and it should be someone that he trusts, even during times of sickness or injury. Of course your pet doesn’t get the same excited feeling pulling in to the vet as he would the dog park, but there should be some level of “hey, I know these guys!” that puts your dog at ease. Your vet  and his or her staff should always try to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable for your pet as they can.

Dr. Tonia Shatzel at 30-A Vet in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Take a few extra steps and check references, do your research and make sure a vet is the right choice for you and your pet. A little extra time spent in the decision can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your best friend.

How to Love Your Dog: Tips, Tricks and Must-Knows

There’s really nothing better than a dog. A true friend and companion, a trickster, a playmate, and often the life of the party, what would our lives be without our four-legged friends? The famous humorist Will Rogers once said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Dogs live to love us, so here’s a few ways to return that love and show your best friend how much they mean to you.
Hanging Out with Your Buddy – Every day you have your routine, and it undoubtedly includes time spent away from home – at work, running errands or just living your life. But don’t forget that you have a buddy at home whose whole life revolves around you. Of course you can’t be with your dog all day, but it’s important to make time to hang out with your dog every day.
Walks and Runs: Every dog breed needs daily exercise, but do a little research on your pooch and make sure he is getting enough physical fitness every day. You’re not only assuring your dog’s health, but you’re showing him that he’s important enough to show off. And remember that it’s his time to enjoy the outdoors, so be patient when he stops to smell the flowers.
Dog-friendly Outings : Pet-friendly activities are popping up all over, so take a little time to research dog-friendly spots in your neighborhood and town. Many outdoor restaurants and more shops than ever are not only allowing you, but inviting you to bring your dog along for the fun. Call ahead to make sure, or check out Bring Fido, a great online search tool that highlights the best in dog-friendly spots, complete with user reviews and pictures.
At Home: Long day at work or just feeling like keeping it local? Don’t forget that even if you’ve had a busy day, your dog has been busy waiting for you to come home, so don’t forget to give him some attention. Throw a favorite toy (back and forth a few thousand times), play a game of hide and seek, or set up a doggy treat hunt in your home.
Taking Care – You watch what you eat, have good hygiene and have regular checkups with your doctor, so why wouldn’t you want the same for your dog? One of the best ways to love your dog? Making responsible choices when it comes to their everyday health.
Food : Your dog’s diet can determine not only the longevity of his life, but also the quality. Dog’s don’t judge their food in calories or health benefits, so it’s up to you  to make good choices with what to put in his bowl. Read the bag, check the ingredients, do your homework, because don’t you want to have your best friend around as long as you can? You want a food that has real meat, fruits and vegetables, not fillers, and the artificial flavors or colors have to go. Choose a diet suitable for your dog’s breed and stage of life; Wellness Pet Food makes it easy to make the right choice for your dog.
Grooming : Can you imagine what your hair would look like if you didn’t brush it for months and you only got a haircut every couple of years? Or what if you never trimmed your fingernails or brushed your teeth? If you wouldn’t neglect your own hygiene, why would you neglect your dogs? Not only does poor grooming cause your pet discomfort, but some factors, like not regular teeth-brushing, can pose serious risks to his health.
Vet Care – Regular veterinary care for your dog is part of being a responsible owner, and this includes two exams a year at the minimum. Stay up to date on vaccinations (most importantly for distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies) and visit the vet if your buddy is injured or shows lingering signs of sickness.
The Special Treatment – Hopefully you have lots of opportunities to show your dog a special reward; he didn’t chase the mailman at lunch, or you left your brand new shoes out all night and not a chew mark to be seen, or maybe it’s your dog’s birthday. Whatever the reason for celebration, here are some ways to give your buddy the special treatment.
Dog Massage – Sure, that can sound a little strange at first, but dogs, especially dogs with more than a few years under their collars, can reap the benefits of a good massage. Massage can be calming in times of anxiety, relieve joint stiffness in arthritic dogs, or even provide a warm-up for athletic dogs before play. This article in Modern Dog Magazine has some great tips on how to give the right kind of massage for your dog’s health.
Treats – Treats are often the go-to choice for rewarding your dog, but if you truly love your pooch, you will only give treats with the right ingredients and offer these kind of tasty rewards in moderation. Choose the right dog treats, tailored to your buddy’s diet and health needs, and save treats for times of excellent behavior, not to be given as a ‘guilt treat’ for when you have to leave the house.

There’s really nothing better than a dog. A true friend and companion, a trickster, a playmate, and often the life of the party, what would our lives be without our four-legged friends? The famous humorist Will Rogers once said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Dogs live to love us, so here’s a few ways to return that love and show your best friend how much they mean to you.

Hanging Out with Your Buddy – Every day you have your routine, and it undoubtedly includes time spent away from home – at work, running errands or just living your life. But don’t forget that you have a buddy at home whose whole life revolves around you. Of course you can’t be with your dog all day, but it’s important to make time to hang out with your dog every day.

  • Walks and Runs: Every dog breed needs daily exercise, but do a little research on your pooch and make sure he is getting enough physical fitness every day. You’re not only assuring your dog’s health, but you’re showing him that he’s important enough to show off. And remember that it’s his time to enjoy the outdoors, so be patient when he stops to smell the flowers.
  • Dog-friendly Outings: Pet-friendly activities are popping up all over, so take a little time to research dog-friendly spots in your neighborhood and town. Many outdoor restaurants and more shops than ever are not only allowing you, but inviting you to bring your dog along for the fun. Call ahead to make sure, or check out Bring Fido, a great online search tool that highlights the best in dog-friendly spots, complete with user reviews and pictures.
  • At Home: Long day at work or just feeling like keeping it local? Don’t forget that even if you’ve had a busy day, your dog has been busy waiting for you to come home, so don’t forget to give him some attention. Throw a favorite toy (back and forth a few thousand times), play a game of hide and seek, or set up a doggy treat hunt in your home.

Taking Care – You watch what you eat, have good hygiene and have regular checkups with your doctor, so why wouldn’t you want the same for your dog? One of the best ways to love your dog? Making responsible choices when it comes to their everyday health.

  • Food: Your dog’s diet can determine not only the longevity of his life, but also the quality. Dog’s don’t judge their food in calories or health benefits, so it’s up to you  to make good choices with what to put in his bowl. Read the bag, check the ingredients, do your homework, because don’t you want to have your best friend around as long as you can? You want a food that has real meat, fruits and vegetables, not fillers, and the artificial flavors or colors have to go. Choose a diet suitable for your dog’s breed and stage of life; Wellness Pet Food makes it easy to make the right choice for your dog.
  • Grooming: Can you imagine what your hair would look like if you didn’t brush it for months and you only got a haircut every couple of years? Or what if you never trimmed your fingernails or brushed your teeth? If you wouldn’t neglect your own hygiene, why would you neglect your dogs? Not only does poor grooming cause your pet discomfort, but some factors, like not regular teeth-brushing, can pose serious risks to his health.
  • Vet Care: Regular veterinary care for your dog is part of being a responsible owner, and this includes two exams a year at the minimum. Stay up to date on vaccinations (most importantly for distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies) and visit the vet if your buddy is injured or shows lingering signs of sickness.

The Special Treatment - Hopefully you have lots of opportunities to show your dog a special reward; he didn’t chase the mailman at lunch, or you left your brand new shoes out all night and not a chew mark to be seen, or maybe it’s your dog’s birthday. Whatever the reason for celebration, here are some ways to give your buddy the special treatment.

  • Dog Massage: Sure, that can sound a little strange at first, but dogs, especially dogs with more than a few years under their collars, can reap the benefits of a good massage. Massage can be calming in times of anxiety, relieve joint stiffness in arthritic dogs, or even provide a warm-up for athletic dogs before play. This article in Modern Dog Magazine has some great tips on how to give the right kind of massage for your dog’s health.
  • Treats: Treats are often the go-to choice for rewarding your dog, but if you truly love your pooch, you will only give treats with the right ingredients and offer these kind of tasty rewards in moderation. Choose the right dog treats, tailored to your buddy’s diet and health needs, and save treats for times of excellent behavior, not to be given as a ‘guilt treat’ for when you have to leave the house.

There’s a saying that goes, “Dogs may not be our whole lives, but they do make our lives whole.” Dogs spend their waking moments vying for our attention and hoping to show us how much we are loved. Take time for your dog today and show him just how lucky you feel to have him in your life. Make your pet be happy, healthy and well.

A Puppy Welcome Basket is a Fun Dog Gift Idea

Have a relative, friend or neighbor that recently welcomed a new pup into their home? What better way to show you care than with a puppy welcome basket?  Chock full of good things puppies love, the new puppy parents will be surprised and delighted by your thoughtful gesture.

Here are some dog gift ideas to include:

  • Puppy Kong – Kongs are great toys because they’re durable and can withstand sharp puppy teeth.  When filled with peanut butter or Wellness treats they can keep him occupied for hours.
  • Squeaky toys—Dogs love squeaky toys.  Plus, they come in cute shapes like bagels or rolled up newspapers.
  • Training pads— When a puppy has to go, he goes.  Help train him with special pads designed to sop up the mess.
  • Puppy toothbrush and toothpaste –  Banish puppy breath by keeping a clean mouth!
  • Shirt/collar/leash of parent’s favorite sports team  – Imagine how delighted they’ll be when Max shares this allegiance.
  • An assortment of Wellness® dog treats (of course!) including Just for Puppy Treats – great for training! We do more than make pet food. We create Wellness.™

What are your favorite dog gift ideas for a puppy welcome basket?  We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.

3 Dog Friendly Winter Getaways

Over the past few years, there has has been a significant increase in the number of dog friendly accommodations and trails at top ski areas around the country. From Mammoth Lakes, CA to Maine, you can bring your dog to join in the winter fun.

Here are 3 dog friendly winter getaways for you and your family:

1. Mammoth Mountain at Mammoth Lakes, CA is a renowned ski resort with a pet clientele. The Westin Monache — http://www.westinmammoth.com at the base of the mountain caters to canines with a variety of luxury pet amenities, including plush beds to crash down on after a day romping in the great outdoors. With several dog bakeries in the area to ensure your furry friend gets a special treat, along with a dog wash, he’ll be ready for the long trip home.

2. The Gunflint Lodge in Grand Marais, MN – http://www.gunflint.com/ offers a pooch paradise with dog themed weekends. In addition to hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, there are seminars on dog massages, pet communication and health, led by veterinarians and dog handlers. Additionally, there are K-9 Olympics and doggie socials. It’s a dog’s life indeed!

Here are the dates for the dog lover’s weekends for 2013.

March 14-17- Bow Wow Pow Wow

April 18-21- Pawloosa

October 10-13 Wag a lot

3. The Pawhouse Inn in West Rutland, VT– http://www.pawhouseinn.com/accomodations.html. With a tagline reading, “No dog left behind”, Jen and Mitch Frankenberg love dogs and it shows.  The Pawhouse Inn is close to 120 miles of trails where you can take Fido cross-country skiing or snowshoeing and they have an outdoor dog park with a semi-permanent agility course.

Of course, if you and your furry friend would rather curl up in front of the fire and read a book, you’re welcome to do that too.  They also include 9-5 dog care as part of the rate in case you feel like hitting the slopes of nearby Killington.

ADOPTING THE PERFECT FAMILY PET

October is Adopt-A-Dog MonthAdopting a pet is a big decision for any family and not one that should be entered into lightly. With such a wide variety of pets and breeds, you want to find one that will fit well into your family dynamic. Follow these top 10 tips to help you find the perfect pet for your family.

Read the rest of this entry »

Take Your Dog to Work Day® is June 24th!

Celebrate Take Your Dog To Work Day on June 24th!

Celebrate Take Your Dog To Work Day on June 24th!

For those pet parents who are not typically able to have their canine companions by their side during a work day, this special day is one to take advantage of if you can. June 24th has been designated as 2011’s Take Your Dog to Work Day®. Now, you may need to get permission ahead of time and Pet Sitters International has compiled a list of frequently asked questions that you may find helpful.

We hope you are able to take advantage of this special day and if so, we’d love to see pictures of you and your furry office friend! Be sure to visit us on Facebook where you can share your experience and pictures from Take Your Dog To Work Day!

Daisy

Sally from Wikes Barre Township, PA wrote to let us know that her dog just loves Wellness Chicken & Sweet Potato Natural Canned Dog Food Recipe. When we saw this photo of Daisy, we knew we had to share it with other Wellness fans out there.  Check out Daisy, sitting happily in a daisy patch. How adorable and how fitting with her name.

A big thanks to Daisy’s pet parent Sally for sharing this with us!

Daisy Poses for the Camera in a Daisy Garden!

Daisy Poses for the Camera in a Daisy Patch!

Ever Wish Your Pet Could Talk?

pet postsEver wish your dog or cat would talk to you on facebook? Who doesn’t?

Pet Posts by Wellness lets you get and create wall posts from your pet!

Set up a customized profile that fits your pet’s personality, and your pal will be posting in no time. We are excited that there are already almost 200 pet parents who using our pet posts application on facebook. So come on over and join the conversation!

Join Pet Posts Today!

Weekly True Wellness™ Photo Gallery

Every week, we are more and more amazed by the Wellness testimonials and photos that our true believers send in. This week is no exception. Here are some of the beautiful pets submitted in the past couple of days who are portraits of True Wellness™. Aren’t they gorgeous? We sure think so.

Moe likes Wellness CORE Original Recipe

Moe likes Wellness® CORE® Original Recipe

Woody picks Wellness Simple Food Solutions Rice & Duck Recipe

Woody picks Wellness® Simple Food Solutions® Rice & Duck Recipe

Cooper loves Wellness Simple Food Solutions

Cooper loves Wellness® Simple Food Solutions®

Jack choses Wellness Super5Mix Lamb, Barley & Salmon Meal Recipe and Wellbars Yogurt, Apples & Bananas

Jack chooses Wellness® Super5Mix® Lamb, Barley & Salmon Meal Recipe and WellBars® Yogurt, Apples & Bananas

Lola Rose enjoys Wellness Super5Mix Large Breed Adult Health Recipe

Lola Rose enjoys Wellness® Super5Mix® Large Breed Adult Health Recipe

Splash and Freckles  both love Wellness CORE Original Recipe

Splash and Freckles both love Wellness® CORE® Original Recipe

10 Great Reasons to Rescue a Shelter Cat

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Every year six to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters. Three to four million of them are euthanized, mainly due to overcrowding. Approximately 70% of these euthanized animals are cats. The following are ten great reasons to adopt a shelter cat: Read the rest of this entry »