child and labrador choose veterinarian

How to Find a Veterinarian for Your Labrador!

Choosing A Veterinarian Carefully.

Finding a good veterinarian can be easier said than done.  I always have clients asking me what questions they should ask, what to look for, etc.  So I decided to write a blog post on this topic!

Koda and his boy- Endless Mt. Labradors

Koda and his boy

Honestly the best advice I can give, first off, is to try and find a holistic veterinarian!  Check out the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association to find one near you–>  http://www.ahvma.org/

Too often we work with vets who are so quick to just prescribe some medication or rush into surgery before looking at natural, holistic methods.  Of course we know as people, human doctors are often the same way. Just recently I had someone tell me their 6 month lab pup was limping a bit.  This is a classic age for panosteitis (growing pains) in labs because they’re hitting growth spurts. They got x-rays just to rule out an injury or something more serious.  The vet said they couldn’t find anything conclusive in the x-rays but deemed it elbow dysplasia and wanted to scope the elbows, surgically, just to “check it out”. We told them to get a second opinion.  The second opinion assured them this was a classic case of panosteitis.

We also tell people to find out if their veterinarian is familiar with the differences between English and American Labradors.  (https://emlabradors.com/2013/02/the-history-of-the-labrador-retriever/)  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had come to me, frustrated with their vet, because they were told their lab is overweight.  Now by all means you want to make sure you’re dog is in fact not overweight, but often times vets pass this judgment simply because they do not know the body FRAME of an English Lab. These labs are shorter, stockier, and thicker boned (like Sicily below) than the American Labs.  This is why we give our clients a letter from us to their vet to make sure they know the difference.

Sicily- Endless Mt. Labradors

It’s also a good idea to make sure your vet is willing to work with your breeder.  This doesn’t mean they have to consult us for every little thing, but veterinarians cannot be experts on EVERY breed of dog.  We have worked with labs for 26 years, which means we might know a thing or two about them!  Finding a vet that respects the opinion of your lab breeder will make for an overall better working experience for you and them.  After all, you chose your breeder for a reason.

In regards to the above statement, is nutrition.  Vets are not trained in nutrition for different breeds.  I can’t say this for every breeder, but we have done extensive research and have extensive experience with nutrition in our labs to know what is and isn’t good for your lab.  I can’t tell you how many “vet recommended foods” I cringe at!  Science diet… eek!

Click here to read more about nutrition!

Lastly, we ALWAYS advise not to spay or neuter until your lab is at least 18-24 months of age.  You can read more about why,  here–>https://emlabradors.com/2013/01/spaying-and-nuetering-your-pup-the-pros-and-cons/  The Humane Society has pushed for a long time to spay and neuter your dogs at 6 months of age (or even younger sometimes!).  The reason for this is to control the unwanted puppy population, which we COMPLETELY understand.  But that really just caters to strays and irresponsible pet owners.  There are other ways to make sure your lab does not reproduce if you do not want them to!  Making sure you and your vet are on the same page with this issue is SO important.  I recently talked with a client who is very frustrated with the constant battle she’s having with her vet (and even family and friends) over spaying her 16 month old Labrador pup.  It will save you so much heartache to be sure you don’t have to deal with the constant pressure and negativity from your vet.

Above all, you want to have a vet that respects you and your opinion as the lab’s owner.  It’s like finding a pediatrician before you bring home a new baby.  I know I compare dogs a lot to children, but I dare you to tell any lab owner that they love their lab less than their own child!  For many, labs are the only children they can have.  We all want the best for our babies…

Sleepy lab and his human- Endless Mt. Labradors

 

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9 Comments

  1. Thank you for this blog. Having had English labs, whom are my only children, I have fought the continuous battle over my dogs weight. The vet made me feel like I was a terrible pet owner because my dogs ribs didn’t protrude. Needless to say, I disregarded everything they said and moved on. These beautiful babies are our responsibility, and like children, you must follow your instincts when it comes to the best care they can get. Hopefully, a future endless mountain puppy mom!

    1. I’m glad you liked it! It’s such a common asked question… and yes it can be so frustrating to deal with the weight issue with vets!

  2. Choosing a respectful vet is a good idea. That way, I can make sure he cares about me and about my pet. I wouldn’t want to take my dog to someone who doesn’t really care about him! I want someone who cares, and does all he/she can to help him out.

  3. I appreciate your tip not to spay my dogs until they’re at least 6 moths old. I just bought my niece two female labs. I don’t think anyone plans on them having puppies, so we’ll get them spayed when the time is right.

  4. Thanks for bringing to my attention that spaying and neutering should take place between eighteen and twenty-four months of age. My husband and I are going to be getting a puppy, and we want to neuter him, but we weren’t sure when that should happen. We’ll definitely wait until he’s around two years old so it’s the ideal time for that.

  5. I really appreciate that you mentioned knowing the difference between an English Labrador and an American Labrador. Knowing the difference can make things easier for when you choose a vet service because each type of lab has different needs. I just adopted a lab and I will need to find someone who knows about American Labs because they have predisposition to have bad hips. A vet who can help us combat that is preferred.

  6. You have some great tips for finding a good vet. We’re actually looking at getting a Lab puppy, but we want to have a vet ready before we do anything. I’ll be sure to find someone who knows the differences between English and American Labs!

  7. I like the advice you give about finding a vet that knows about nutrition and how it effects your dog. After all, every different breed of dog needs their own, unique diet in order to function at the best of their ability. If you can find a vet that is familiar with the kind of diet your dog needs then it won’t be too hard to help them adjust to it.

  8. You made a good point that one way to find a good veterinarian for your Labrador is by checking out the AHVMA website to check if there is one available near your area. If the vet is a member of this organization, it means that they are licensed to operate their business and that the veterinarian is more than qualified to provide a proper diagnosis. Also, you may want to look for one that would have a good working relationship with your breeder. This way, you would be able to get first-hand information about what your dog needs to maintain good health. If I were to choose a veterinarian for my dog, I would make sure to keep this in mind. Thanks.

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