For a number of years now I have had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Gabby Rotaru whose veterinary practice (Chestermere Vet Clinic) has helped ensure that the dogs who join Community Therapy Dogs are medically up to the job they are being asked to do. I sat down recently with Gabby and asked her initially what practices she would recommend to owners to keep their dogs in good shape or prevent unnecessary problems. This is what she said:
“Start them right: if you get a puppy, do not underestimate the importance of a proper diet. A food that is well balanced for growth, good digestion, brain and joint development and teeth protection will not only ensure that your puppy’s development is good but will also prevent A LOT of medical issues down the road and can save you a lot of money in vet visits. Not all puppies need the same diet though so talk to your veterinarian about it.
Do not assume that medication we take is good for your dog as well. For example, Advil will create severe and possibly permanent kidney damage in dogs, so ask your veterinarian before you give any medication.
Antifreeze can poison your dogs, so be cautious and don’t let them lick the garage floor or be around antifreeze in general.
Some breeds are more predisposed to certain disease. Know your risks and what signs to watch for and seek medical attention right away should you notice any abnormalities in your dog.
Have a first aid kit for your dog and learn basic principles for first aid: this can save a dog’s life.
Brush your dog’s teeth daily! This is not a joke, it is a real fact that periodontal disease happens and can result in severe dental infections that can lead to dental surgery. Get educated by your veterinary team on when to start and how to do it. There are many things to take into account when doing this.”
I then asked her what owners could do to make the veterinary clinic’s staff perform most effectively for your dog. She told me:
“If your dog doesn’t enjoy visiting the vet’s office, then let’s make the vet visit a positive experience for your dog! We offer free vet visits where owners brings their dogs in JUST FOR COOKIES: they come in, the team offers them cookies, they walk around, get a lot of praise and love from both the owner and the vet team and they do not have any medical treatments done that day. Frequent vet visits like this make a huge difference for shy dogs.
Talk to us: let us know what works and what doesn’t for your pet, your family, your schedule and your budget. There are lots of options available and both of us (owner and vet team) want the same thing: for your dog to be healthy, happy and pain free. So let’s work together!
Understand the importance of training and socializing for your dog: his/her “social life” is just as important as your social life.”
Gabby’s ideas and suggestions are borne out of many years of running her own veterinary practice. If there are other concerns you have, Gabby and her colleagues can be reached on 403 272 3573 or via their website www.chestermerevet.com.