Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, canine nutritionists, canine massage therapists and canine behaviorists are all professions that provide health care for dogs. Dog walkers and pet sitters provide care in the absence of the dog's owner. Trainers instruct owners in ways to teach desired behaviors to their dogs. Groomers help maintain a dog's appearance and can alert owners to suspected medical conditions.
Veterinarians are the primary providers of health care for dogs. Becoming a veterinarian requires completion of a four-year post-graduate training program. Students working towards a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, or DVM, take complete coursework in animal health and disease, animal anatomy, animal behavior and other topics. Many veterinarians pursue further training to focus on specific conditions, behavior or nutrition. Behaviorists work with owners to resolve severe behavior issues such as aggression or compulsive behaviors that threaten the dog's health and may prescribe drugs such as Prozac if training regimens are ineffective.
Veterinary technicians work closely with veterinarians to assist in handling and restraining patients, providing nursing care to sick animals, and performing laboratory work.
Canine massage therapists use hands-on techniques to relax muscles, stimulate circulation and enhance range of motion. They work either on their own or in with vets. Some states require training and certification to become a canine massage therapists.
Pet sitters and dog walkers care for dogs in the absence of their owners. Trainers address a variety of behavior problems but don't prescribe drugs. Some pet sitters provide overnight boarding for owners on vacation or pet taxi services. Kennel attendants provide care such as cage cleaning for animals in boarding facilities and shelters.