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How Do You Choose A Veterinarian?

We frequently receive questions & comments from our clientele concerning their interactions with, and diagnoses by, their personal veterinarian. This isn’t because I am a more qualified veterinarian myself, but rather because I have over 20 years of personal experience solely with the Chow breed.

Veterinarians’ expertise may differ in many aspects:

General Personal Knowledge: Unfortunately, one sometimes encounters vets whom you find yourself questioning how they were able to graduate from vet school.

Specific Knowledge of the Breed:  Veterinarians are unrealistically expected to have expertise with hundreds of dog breeds, as well as all other animal species!

Professionalism & Bedside Manners:  Do they conduct themselves in a professional manner and display compassion for you and your Chow? Do they appear to like Chows?

Personal Experience: How long have they been in practice? What is their personal experience, specifically with the Chow breed, and are they aware of predisposed diseases & conditions?

I would recommend calling a veterinary clinic and tell them you are thinking about getting a Chow, to ascertain their reaction.  If they try to talk you out of getting one, cross that clinic off your list!  If the reception is good, then proceed by asking questions.  For example, do they often treat Chows at their clinic.  What is their protocol when you come in for an appointment? Do they allow you to remain with your Chow, or must you wait in the waiting room?  Most adult Chows do not like to be put into a new situation where they are separated from the one person they trust.  Do they require your dog be muzzled or sedated due to the breed?  These are all things that happen in some clinics.

Once you have chosen a clinic, your work is not finished.  When you first take your Chow to meet your new veterinary how are you received?  Does he take his time before he attempts to touch your Chow?  Does he first try to make friends with your Chow & let the Chow come to him? Knowledgeable vets know not to rush some breeds unless the dog approaches them.

Even after you have decided on your chosen vet, you should still be cautious.  You are your Chow’s advocate.  No one can do it like you can, so don’t be shy.  If you disagree, or you don’t understand something, you are obligated to ask questions.  You should never permit anyone to do anything to your Chow if you question what you are being told.  Most treatments or surgeries do not require an immediate decision.  Tell them you need to think it over, then do your own research & seek advice from people you trust and ask for their opinion. You should also be able to call your breeder and ask their opinion.  A reasonable veterinary will understand this and allow you enough time.  If they try to pressure you, it could be because they don’t like being questioned or they might have ulterior motives, like money!  I hate to say it, but it sometimes happens. The professional ones will understand and tell me if they think there is any danger in waiting.  You must do what you think is best for your Chow, based on what your vet has told you and from your own research.

There is nothing wrong with shopping around for a veterinary clinic.  Their prices can vary exceedingly.  Call and ask what they charge for an office visit and vaccinations such as rabies and Bordetella. This should give you a pretty good idea about the clinic.  Although you aren’t necessarily searching for the cheapest, you don’t need a clinic that caters mostly to wealthy clientele. I always recommend checking on Angie’s List and  The clinics usually have plenty of reviews available that will reveal much about the clinic veterinarians, but also their office staff.  You will be dealing with the clinic staff as much, if not more than you will the doctors.  Inquire from your colleagues where they take their pets.  Also, ask how often they have used a particular vet.  It does no good to get a recommendation about a vet that someone has only seen once or twice.

It isn’t always easy finding a “good” veterinary, who is also a “good fit”.  It requires an effort on your part, but you will be much happier and your Chow will benefit immensely!

Dry Skin Irritation

This time of year often sets off dry skin in our Chows.  With the weather changing and their new undercoat coming in, it can be an itchy situation.  What can we do?  Well, there are several things we can do to help.

  • Bathing with an Oatmeal based shampoo can be soothing to the skin.
  • Add Coconut Oil to your pets food.  Add about a fourth of a teaspoon to start with.  You can increase this to a full teaspoon each day over time.  You want your pet to get used to having this in its food.  Coconut Oil has many good properties with healthy skin being one of them.
  • You can also rub Coconut Oil on your hands and then massage down to the skin.  Chows will typically scratch and bite at the areas bothering them the most.  Start with those areas.
  • Feed your pet an egg each day.  Eggs are fantastic for the skin.
  • Olive oil added to the food can also be beneficial to the skin.

If itching is severe and the scratching seems to be constant or at least very frequent, you might want to give your dog a Benadryl tablet.  One mg per pound every 8 – 12 hours is the rule of thumb.  This should give your dog some relief until the food additives have time to kick in.

Constant scratching cannot be ignored.  Once the skin is broken infection will quickly follow.  You will have no choice at this point but to take your dog to the veterinary for antibiotics.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and our furry friends will thank us for it!

Election Animal Reaction!

As many of you know, we have an African Gray Parrot named “Mr. Bud”, as well as a Jack Russell Terrier dog, named  “Jack”.  Unfortunately, the Jack Russell has a penchant for chasing birds.

On election night, Darrell and I were sitting in our recliners intently watching the election results when utter chaos broke out!  When one of the states was called for our candidate, we both simultaneously let out a war hoop.  This startled our African Gray so much that he fell off his perch, causing Jack to jump off my lap, barking at the bird.  We both yelled at Jack to stop.  Our alpha Chow, Bella, came rushing into the room to see what was happening, immediately turned and went back into the kitchen where she promptly started a fight with our other Chow, Dixie.  Darrell and I both jumped out of our chairs to stop the fight.  Once everyone was calm again, we both returned to our recliners as I cautioned Darrell how we needed to refrain from becoming excited over the election, if we wanted to have peace in our home!


Peace has returned and all is quiet.

Hot and Muggy Day

The humidity must be well over 100% today here on the farm.  As soon as you step foot outside the sweat rolls!  It was so pleasant yesterday with temps in the 70s and low humidity.  Well, we are paying for it today.

We purchased a portable air conditioner for the kennel.  With these high temp days the fans just aren’t keeping it cool enough.  Now that the puppies are older I don’t have to worry about them becoming chilled.  And, the moms will be much more comfortable.  Now to figure out how to hook it up.  Not my favorite activity!

Darrell is out with the farmhand unloading the dog food we purchased yesterday.  When you purchase 15 44lb bags of dog food there is always someone who has to ask you if you have dogs.  I don’t quite understand that question.  Do they think we are eating the dog food?  Or feeding it to our other animals?  Anyway, that is being unloaded and then he is going to go get mulch.  He is the landscaper on our farm.  As those of you who have visited know, our farm has many trees, shrubs, and lots and lots of flowers.  Unless it is a downpour, there isn’t a day goes by that Darrell isn’t out tinkering in the yard.  We also can’t go anywhere where they sell flowers without coming up with more!

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After spending many years in Germany and visiting lost of castles, he has used many of the ideas he got from there to decorate our grounds.  He does a fantastic job and everyone enjoys the fruits of his labor.


We have four litters of puppies right now so keeping the kennel clean is a twice a day job.  The puppies love to tear up the newspapers instead of using them for their potty station.  They finally get to the point, usually, where they stop tearing up the paper and learn what it is there for.  But until then . . .

Well, it looks like we are about to have a storm so I must go check to make sure everyone and everything is put up.  My garden needs the rain so I can’t complain to much.  Besides, maybe the humidity will clear with the rain!!


Launching the New Blog!

In place of the Newsletters we used to post, we are now going to do a blog.  This will reach more people and hopefully get the word out on important Chow issues.  Please bear with me while I try to figure out this new forum.  We will discuss health issues, training and behavior, stories about our Chows, and we will add some farm happenings to give you a peek into our life here at D & M Farm!  Check for categories in the right side pane.  If there are topics you would like to see covered please send us an email at

Our New Website!

Our new website is now up and running! We hope you like the new features and will come back often to visit us.

DM Farm