Is the Next Big Thing in Pet Health Care?

Originally Published by Toronto Dog Spot

Have you ever used TeleHealth Ontario? It’s a great resource that allows nurses to triage you health needs over the phone and give you advice and direction on those pesky things that come up in life that makes you say “Hey, what do I if…?” Three years ago when I became a mom for the first time, my family physician, obstetrician, emergency doctors and nurses and other new moms recommended TeleHealth. When you’re a newbie everything seems like a big question mark, mostly because you never had to think of it before or have never been put in that situation. Clever system, really, as it reduces visits to the emergency department, long waits to see your family doctor, and it gets you answers and direction fairly quickly from the comfort of your own home.


If you’ve ever had a pet, or this may be your first time having a fur baby, (Congratulations!) you may be just as panicked about the unknown – and you’re not alone. I love the old Portuguese saying “No one is born knowing everything.” That phrase has gotten me through some anxiety ridden moments, let me tell you. But, the one thing that can ease the not-knowing is knowing. Figuring it out. Having someone guide you to the answer. It’s going to be okay.

Wouldn’t you know it; I came across a new, wonderful service for pet parents in Ontario. A company called helps pet owners avoid unnecessary, and often costly, trips to the vet when all you need is some good advice. The inception of this company came from the frustration, time, energy and money spent on taking a sick puppy, with a lot of issues, to the vet up to once a week! Soon to discover, however, that not all visits were absolutely necessary and all this pet mom really needed was some good advice. But where can one find legit veterinary council without having to go to the vet? Well, Emma Harris, founder of healthypets, thought there has to be a better way and set out to answer this very question. Just as TeleHealth has qualified nurses answering the phone, she envisioned real, live veterinarians waiting to answer your concerns. Your questions may be as simple as, “My dog ate a sock. What should I do?”, “My dog has a dry nose, should I be worried?”, or (and I kid you not) “My dog rummaged through my purse and destroyed my tampons… I don’t even know what question follows this because I can’t imagine what could happen, but what do I do?” (Shout out to my Berner Titan for this fine example!)

As a company,, has a very simple algorithm; their 1-2-3 “Don’t Sweat It”, “Hmmm, lets monitor this”, and “It’s serious” approach. After your triage if you fall in the first two categories, you’ve likely saved yourself a trip to the vet – and the bank. However, if it is serious, they will direct you to the vet, recommend one if you don’t have one, and, if you loved the service you got, you can keep the same vet when you actually need to take your pet in for a visit. This is a great tie-in with the “Got a Pet, Get a Vet” initiative through the SPCA. If this is your first contact with a veterinarian, it’s a great time to get one! You never know how much you need a professional until you realize you don’t have one.


K.I.S.S. Muah – keep it simple stupid – another “words to live by” favourite of mine and healthypets does a good job of it in the pricing department. You can pay $35 per 15 minute call or you can subscribe to a yearly package for $19.99/month. Yeah, TeleHealth is free (well, not really we pay taxes for it), but we all need to make a living! Speaking of health care in Ontario, I’m going to mention my plug in for OHIP pet insurance here. It could be an optional tax for pet owners – just think about it Justin!

So, if you are a new parent to a four-legged companion and you have the first time jitters, maybe healthypets is a good place to start. I haven’t used the service myself, but I never used TeleHealth before I became a mom either. Like anything, it’s nice to know it’s there.

Would you use healthypets? Let us know what you think of their idea as a pet parental support service for the health of your furry BFF.


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