The Pet Doctor: Your Total Guide to Dog and Cat Care


292 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 1-55110-250-1
DDC 636.7'0887





Illustrations by Joseph Sherman
Reviewed by Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson is associate editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual.


Dr. Morton B. Caplan, a Toronto-based veterinarian, writes in the
preface to this excellent book that his “personal philosophy of
veterinary medicine ... is [one of] ... cautious interventionism.” Dr.
Caplan’s nonextremist medical philosophy has translated into a
well-written, superbly organized book that is filled with sensible and
humane advice on a wide range of pet-care issues.

Part 1 addresses the fundamentals of responsible pet ownership via
chapters on The Human- Animal Bond, Acquiring a Pet, Protecting Your Pet
from Harm, Your Pet and Your Vet, Vaccinations and Elective Surgery,
Care of Puppies and Kittens, Establishing Good Behavior, Grooming Your
Pet, Breeding Your Pet, The Senior Years, Vacation Time, and Changes in
the Household. Part 2 examines the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of
“the most common conditions seen in everyday veterinary practice.”
The author’s lucid (and blissfully jargon-free) text is supported by
equally lucid black-and-white illustrations. Concluding chapters deal
with the dietary management of disease and the death of a pet.

Enlivening the book are fascinating case histories and anecdotes
gleaned from Caplan’s years of veterinary experience. On one occasion,
he induced vomiting in a dog that had swallowed some bread dough, only
to discover that “[the dough] had already begun to rise in the
stomach!” Some of the information in this book will surprise. How many
pet owners know, for example, that “chocolate is very harmful to dogs
and cats and ingestion of even a small amount can cause convulsions and
death”? The Pet Doctor isn’t just a lively read, it’s a potential


Caplan, Morton B., “The Pet Doctor: Your Total Guide to Dog and Cat Care,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,