As a Great Dane parent, it is important to understand that not all vets have experience working with giant breeds (or Great Danes in particular) and a lack of experience can be costly.
Great Danes and other giant breeds are susceptible to certain health problems that are not typical in other breeds. Finding a vet that has experience with Great Danes will help ensure that your Great Dane gets the care and attention that he/she needs. Here are four tips for choosing a good veterinarian:
Check Out Their Website
The first step in choosing a quality veterinarian is to check out the websites of prospective vets. Perusing their website should give you give you a good sense of their credibility. Is the site professional, well-written and informative? These are all signs that they take pride in their practice.
The websites should also help you determine if they are reasonably close to your home, what hours they operate, whether or not they provide emergency services, the size of their staff, years of experience, and what type of animals and services they specialize in. An acceditation from the American Animal Hospital Association is also a good sign.
Ask For Recommendations
One of the best sources of information on area vets are your freinds, neighboors, and breeder. Ask what veterinarians they have used in the past, how they feel about each of them, and whether or not they would recommend them.
You might also inquire about rates, specialties, customer service and emergency services. You may find that everyone recommends the same office, or that each individual has a different opinion about various vets. Either way, these personal accounts should help narrow your list of prospective veterinarians.
Visit Prospective Vets
Once you have narrowed down your list to just a few prospective vets, make appointments with each for a meet and greet. You’ll want to spend 15-20 minutes with each vet and without your dog.
This is a great opportunity for you to get answers to all of your questions, so come prepared. You’ll want to know first and foremost if the vet has experience with giant breed dogs (Great Danes in particular) and how much experience that represents. Do they know of any diseases or ailments to which Great Danes are susceptible and have they ever treated any of them? You can also ask about their general experience and training, how long they have been in business, emergency services, overnight patient policies, rates and fees, etc.
While you are there it is a good idea to interact with the staff when possible or to observe how the staff interact with the customers. Are they courteous? Responsive? Efficient? You should know by the time you leave their office whether or not you feel comfortable with a particular clinic.
Finally, Bring Fido For A Visit
By now you should have narrowed your list down to one or two vets. This is the perfect time to bring your Great Dane in for a visit. Set an appointment for a wellness check and bring your gentle giant for a to meet the doc.
During your visit you should observe how the vet handles your Dane and how your Dane reacts to the vet. You want to be sure that the vet is able to handle your Dane with care and professionalism and that your Dane is comfortable with the vet as well.
Of course, some Danes will appear nervous in any out of the ordinary situation, especially when they are being poked and prodded by a stranger, but an experienced vet should be capable of putting your Dane at ease.