Take the time to find the right veterinarian for your pets

The veterinarian you choose can determine how long or how short your dog lives.

Of course, there are several other factors that affect lifespan, but your chosen pet hospital is a major contributor to your dog’s well-being. As pet parents, we must be the voice of our dogs. The best way to exercise that voice is to communicate with several veterinarians to see if they have your dog’s health in mind, not their bottom line.

It’s understandable that vets prefer to hover around the safe side, but if your “five-star” vet is shoving pills that aren’t helping your dog in the long run, you should try finding a vet that is willing to recommend (not prescribe) safer unconventional solutions.

Most people I know turn to Yelp to find an absurdly perfect pet hospital that can resolve all health issues in a snap while being cheap, friendly, and intuitive. Relying on reviews is not a sin, but it’s only the first step. Like myself, many people make the mistake not to seek second or third opinions simply because their vet comes from a hospital with hundreds of glowing reviews. A trustworthy vet allows you to branch out towards alternative medical options and away from conventional ones.

My seven-year-old mutt, Mila, has approximately three seizures each year. That may not seem like a lot, but each seizure is so intense and long lasting that I have to rush to a 24-hour emergency vet clinic each time or else she will overheat and die.

My primary vet would prescribe common anticonvulsant meds like phenobarbital and zonisamide, but Mila’s routine blood tests would indicate her liver is being slowly damaged. Furthermore, side effects like appetite loss and weakness from the meds would trigger her seizures.

My ten pound girl was caught in an atrocious cycle. Seeing her in great pain made me feel so hopeless that I thought of putting her down. However, I was determined to find an effective solution.

It wasn’t until last weekend that my emergency vet told me that medical marijuana is the most sensible and efficient way to prevent my dog’s idiopathic epilepsy. Since she doesn’t have several seizures every week, she doesn’t need to pile on pills. According to Dogs Naturally magazine, cannabidiol has been successfully used to prevent seizures, relieve arthritis pains, help with digestive issues, and even calm aggressive behavior.

The best part is that CBD won’t tear her liver up because it’s gentler. A survey of 632 people published in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association found that 72 percent reported using or having used a hemp product for their dog or cat, and 64 percent felt that it helped their pets

Mila’s recurring urinary tract infections were also resolved with alternative, natural remedies. According to her emergency vet, giving dogs cranberry supplements can help bacteria shed easier off the inner walls of the urethra, which can prevent bacteria from harboring or boost the performance of antibiotics in dogs that already have a UTI.

Taking these alternative routes took years off Mila’s age. She played with her toys after weeks of ignoring them, ran around the house more, and gained the stamina to power through her favorite walk route again. Her improved physical condition gives me confidence and peace of mind that she will be healthier in the long term. Also, I won’t need to drop around $200 every six months on blood tests to check her liver levels.

Looking for another vet can be a frustrating process, but investing time and energy to find an open-minded and genuinely caring vet for your dog or pet is worth it.