By Christie D’Andrea, DVM, Founder of Veterinary Urgent Care Center

It’s no big secret that pets make our lives better! Anyone who has the privilege of caring for a pet understands the health benefits of having them in our home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies have shown that pet ownership can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, feelings of loneliness, and symptoms of PTSD, among other health benefits.

As a veterinarian, I see the positive impacts of pet ownership every single day. So many of our clients communicate with our team or leave Google reviews about how their pet makes them feel.

Knowing this, it can be very stressful when our pets are sick. Our furry friends can’t communicate with us when their stomach isn’t feeling well, or if they are suffering from an ear infection, or if something more serious is happening. We, as owners, have to go by the actions of our pets to tell if something is off.

That’s why it’s important to have a good understanding of the things you can do and the places you can go when you believe your pet needs to see a veterinarian.

  1. First and foremost, establish a primary care veterinarian. General practice veterinarians will help you with the long-term care and management of your pets overall health. You can get your pets annual wellness exam and updated vaccinations through your primary care veterinarian and they are best to manage weight, nutrition, and any long-term diagnoses.
  2. Understand what is an emergency and not an emergency, and know where to go! For very serious injuries and illness (i.e. hit by a car, major accident or large bite wounds, inability to stand or walk) please go to a 24/7 emergency medical center just like going to the hospital for yourself. For tummy troubles, ear and skin issues, UTIs, minor injuries, limping/lameness or anything that is non-emergent, you can utilize urgent care, like our location at 880 Broadway in Saugus, Mass. If you’re unsure, urgent care can help you find answers that same day. We can also be an option for wellness exams if you’re having trouble getting into your primary care veterinary office or need a vaccine urgently for travel or boarding.
  3. Get pet insurance! Most major insurance companies have options for your pet, and when you really need it, it can come in handy. Ask your employer if they offer pet insurance as part of their benefits package. You can also purchase pet insurance independently. Shop around to get an understanding of what options are best for you and your pet. Consider your pets breed and age as these will affect cost. It is best to get pet insurance when your pet is healthy, the first few months of life is best but anytime is better than never. I see people in difficult positions often. When advanced medical care is available, but very expensive, insurance lessens the pressure and burden of the medical costs on families and allows us to provide the best care available without having to compromise that care based on cost. Business owners, talk to your insurance provider about including pet insurance as a benefit. It’s a great perk and recruiting tool!

Understanding the veterinary landscape can be stressful. But with the basics, really knowing what to do in case your pet isn’t feeling well will benefit not only your pet, but you as well. To visit one of our five urgent care hospitals, go to and book online or view our hours before you walk-in! We have locations in Braintree, Plymouth, Easton, Saugus and East Providence, RI.