5 Reasons I Rely on My Vet in a DIY World

Dog in a bike trailer.

The original owner of the bike trailer, Shadow. Our vet managed her care when she had cancer and referred us to other specialists.

Thanks to the internet, you can:

  • learn how to castrate your dog (don’t; it’s terribly cruel)
  • diagnose animal illnesses
  • buy home vaccinations
  • “prevent” and “cure” disease
  • and regulate your pet’s diet.

So why does anyone bother going to the vet?

Here are the 5 reasons I take my dog Honey to the vet for her check up every year.

1. The Internet Lies.

I love the internet. But it’s full of nonsense.

According to the internet, the 1969 moon landing was a fake, Elvis Presley is still alive, and the most effective way to train your dog is to treat him like a wolf (even if wolves don’t act the way these proponents say they do).

See? Nonsense.

To keep her licensing current, my vet reviews current scientific literature before newspapers, televisions shows, and websites distort it to promise something the researchers never intended.

If I see something intriguing online, I ask my vet about it. She usually knows just what I’m talking about and has information about the research that inspired the information.

Honey the Golden Retriever is a puppy chewing on her toy.

If you want to be popular, take a puppy to her first wellness vet visit. Who could resist this face?


2. Going to the Vet Saves Me Money.

Honey can’t tell me how she’s feeling. But annual vet visits are one way I can look for problems before Honey is sick enough to show symptoms.

But I’ve also saved money directly.

Honey’s heartworm medicine was on a recall list. The office manager gave me a credit for the pills we hadn’t used and applied it to our new bill. If I had bought the heartworm preventive online, I would have lost that money.

3. A Caring Stranger Sees Things I Don’t.

Have you ever seen someone after a long absence and been shocked at how different they looked? Yeah, me too.

But I bet their family didn’t notice any changes.

When you live with someone every day, they change slowly over time and you never notice it.

The vet, who only sees Honey once a year (hopefully), will notice changes in her mood or appearance that might escape my notice if they happened gradually enough.

4. A Vet Keeps Good Notes.

At Honey’s last appointment, our vet looked at her chart and said, “I noticed last year you were asking about Honey’s fear issues. How’s that going?”

I didn’t even remember bringing that up with the doctor.

We were starting Honey’s bike cart training and someone suggested I mention Honey’s timidity to my vet in case it had a medical basis. I had forgotten about it. But it was right there in Honey’s chart.

At the time, the vet didn’t believe Honey’s lack of confidence was caused by a health issue. And several months of training that boosted Honey’s confidence proved the doctor right.

But I found it helpful that our vet was keeping track of these things for us.

Honey the Golden Retriever rides in her bike trailer.

I thought this trailer was for taking me to the dog park and to get ice cream. I didn’t know it also went to the vet.


5. I Want My Vet to Thrive Financially

I’ve never seen anyone mention this in their reasons to go to the vet. But it’s very important to me.

I want my vet to make money.

I want her to invest in her staff so they stay for many years. I want her to have the equipment she needs to provide excellent care to her patients. And most important to someone without a car, I want her to afford the rent for her downtown office only 8 blocks from my house.

We have many excellent vets in our area, including a world-class vet school. But without a car, they might as well be on the moon for all the trouble I’d have getting to them. I feel very lucky that the vet I would choose regardless of her location is easily available to me. In a pinch, I could carry Honey if I had to.

Rely On Your Vet

More Americans than ever live with pets. But fewer of them visit the vet annually.

Pets will pay the price. But so will their people.

It’s hard to medically care for someone who hides her pain, doesn’t speak English, and is covered in fur. So why make it harder by ignoring one of the best resources available to you—your vet?

Even in a DIY world, I’m happy to rely on my vet.

Note: I’m very thankful to the vets and staff at Cornerstone Vet Hospital. I’ve had bad vet experiences in the past. And it only makes me appreciate your good care even more. Thanks.

Your Turn: Are you fortunate enough to have a vet you trust and like working with? If so, what do you appreciate the most?


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  1. Good advice. Mom uses the internet to get an idea of what might be going on and to decide if it is something that really needs a vet. She does the same for herself but she goes to a dr. and not a vet :) She usually finds fairly good info after sifting out all the BS and then we go to the vet. We always tend to be more over cautious and go to the vet rather than not go. The only thing is that we order heartwork and tick stuff online because with multiple pets the savings is substantial but sometimes the vet will match the online price. For mom the internet is more for some background knowledge but the vet is the one we know and trust!

  2. I ‘vet-shopped’ for a while before finding my current vet. LOVE him – he’s compassionate, great with the dogs, and is so clinically astute. I am very happy to support their practice. Finding a good vet is one of the best things we can do for our dogs.

  3. I agree with emma. My vet sends us a reminder card and Mom takes me once a year. (She would remember anyway because I go for my check-up around the Jewish new year. That way I start the year right.)
    Dr. Pat always checks my teeth and most years I need some dental work. Usually just a cleaning, but one time I had to have two back teeth removed. They hurt but I couldn’t figure out how to tell mom. He also weighs me and has a 12 year record of everything that was ever wrong or not wrong with me. I’ve kept my manly physic and am in good shape. I can still get cookies.

    Last year I had some of those pink growths on me. Mom did use the web to look it up and see pictures and found they weren’t dangerous. But when they got bigger, off to Dr. Pat. He said they were okay, but mom wanted the bigger ones off anyway. When I come out of anesthesia I whine and his assistant calls and says mom has to get me asap.

    Even though he doesn’t hurt me and I get treats I don’t like going. I never know if I’m getting a shot. We walk to Dr. Pat and as soon as we get to 65th street, I dig in and pull back the way we came. People laugh but I don’t care. Since I’m only 20 lbs, I always lose the battle. At least she knows how I feel.
    I don’t have to go to the vet until September. Good.
    I hate to admit it, but it’s better if I go and catch something in the bud.

    Hugs and licks, BJ Pup

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. It’s very important to have a vet that you trust. We also had bad experiences in the past and had to switch vets, and now we are comfortable where we are. I still like to research things online, as Emma mentioned above, and I am careful to only go to reputable websites. Mostly because I am a worrier and try to find the balance of when we really do need to go to the vet, or when something is not urgent. Most of the time what I learn online gets confirmed when we do end up at the vet’s office! We even bought all of our pet food at his office, to support him financially (plus he’s located close to our home so it’s convenient for us), but he only carries one brand and we have since switched brands. Our vet also has a great support staff, which also makes us more comfortable.

  5. I absolutely ADORE my vet! I am blessed to have him in our lives (and the other vets that work at the same practice)

    Back in 2005 when my Angel Bobo (my first cat) became ill with heart issues, he gave me his PRIVATE CELL NUMBER and told me I could call him with any concerns that I had. He has always gone above and beyond.
    My Bobo passed in 2007 but Cody and Dakota see him MORE than once a year (and they are not senior pets)
    I am vigilant about if things seem amiss I take them to the vet, and I STILL have and have used (albeit sparingly and considerately) his cell phone number!

  6. We’d never consider treating from the internet and we rely on our vet but sometimes they try and push unnecessary treatments as we are insured. You got to be on your toes over here. Mostly they are good but sometimes they are not. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. As a librarian by training I naturally go to the internet, but shifting through reliable information from the BS is no easy task. We’ve been with our current vet for about 8 years now and really appreciate them. Even though they are 20 minutes away and lots of vets in between, we still go there because they know our pets and as you said keep that history that I am not as good at. Having senior labs, who tend to get fatty tumors, they keep track of all the ones they’ve tested so when it seems ‘new’ to me, they can remind me that they tested it before – saving me some bucks. They also will spend however much time I want discussing what’s going on and what our treatment alternatives are. That was so important when Becca was diagnosed with cancer. We actually ended up with a different vet at that time – an oncologist, but he would sit with me and discuss Becca’s treatment plan and sooth MY fears which was so appreciated. Our vets spend more time with us than MY doctors!

  8. Sue at The Golden Life says:

    I love our vet! He cares about and loves all his patients, and when we pet parents have questions, he takes the time to answer those questions. He has a link on his hospital website to real vet info (as opposed to the lies), written in layman language, that we can refer to if we come up with more questions, and he keeps up with it. He’s compassionate, and he’s just a nice guy who I can’t imagine not being liked by anyone. I don’t trust most so-called information on the internet…I tend to be cynical about it until I can verify it…unless I find it in more reliable resources.

  9. Oh my. Where do I start? LOVED our vet! Close to home, wonderful people, dogs LOVE him. Guess what? He RETIRED!! I tried to convince him that he was WAY too young to even THINK about retiring, but he just laughed at me. OK, when I’m 77 maybe I’ll agree, but right now the selfish part of me just wonders how in the world, after 12 years I’m going to find another vet that treats my girls so well…..: (

  10. I think your #5 is especially important. I can’t believe the number of people who think vets should work for free without realizing how much pro bono work most of them do with shelters and rescues. I want them to have the best equipment and the best trained staff. I also try to make a point to see not just the same vet each visit, but I want all of them to know who I am. By looking at my chart, each one knows what went on at the last visit.

  11. My Family has been using the same vet clinic for over 30 years. The founding vets are not there as much, but I really like the new vets, too. Since the clinic is in a small town setting the prices are reasonable. I want my vet to make money, too but the mark-up they apply to drugs is absolutely unreasonable. Jersey is on Clomicalm and the clinic charges $90 a bottle which lasts me a month. I get it for $55 from an on-line retailer.

  12. Its far too confusing trying to find the answers online, we’d much rather go to the vets for advice. So far they have been pretty good.

  13. Very excellent points. #1 is a big problem and kind of scary. I get all my meds from the vet so #2 wouldn’t have occurred to me. It makes sense. #3 happened with Sephi. Even though she had a regular vet office, there were multiple vets there so she almost never saw the same person twice. If she had, they might have noticed her increased aggression right off and associated it immediately with hypothyroidism. I didn’t notice her gradual change and ended up spending lots of money because no one connected the dots. Your vet is awesome about #4. A doctor that actually reads the history chart before examining your pet is a rarity. If I were a veterinarian, I would especially like $5. :)

  14. Ooop, I meant #5, not $5.

  15. I appreciate the fact that my vet has similar views as I do in terms of what my dogs require and what they do not. I’m also very glad that they are willing to listen to me and explore alternative treatments if that is what I choose. It’s so important to have a vet you trust that you have a good relationship with.