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Boston Vet Offers Tips for a Healthy Pup

Michael McCarthy | March 29, 2021 | People

With an innovative new veterinary clinic in Seaport, Dr. Brian J. Bourquin offers tips for keeping our pooches pampered and healthy this spring.
Dr. Brian J. Bourquin

The good doctor noticed almost immediately: The pandemic prompted Bostonians to adopt furry companions like never before. That’s a great trend, of course. But veterinarian Dr. Brian J. Bourquin also wanted to provide a space and a voice downtown for rookie owners of canines and felines—and everyone else. Bourquin, along with his partner Paul Mataras, recently opened the state-of-the-art Boston Veterinary Clinic ( in Seaport, the third location for the duo behind Bay Village and Brookline. We sat down with Bourquin, who also hosts the podcast Tails From the City, to discuss his new space and ways to ensure the overall health of creatures, large and small, this spring.

What do you think Boston residents will find most surprising about your new space in Seaport?

The new clinic has separate areas for cats and dogs. We have a separate waiting area for cats, and they have their own treatment and exam rooms. Boston Veterinary Clinic is the only dedicated cat clinic in Boston. We took the concept of fear-free and customized the entire facility around that theme. The new clinic is so much larger than our other locations, and it allows the space for special treatment areas, such as acupuncture and laser treatment rooms, and a dedicated living room for consultations with your pet so that they feel more at home in our space. We also offer curbside drop-off and pickup, and while we can’t allow you to come inside due to COVID right now, you’re able to watch your pet during their checkup while you are parked curbside in one of our complimentary parking spaces. Other luxe features include the state-of-the-art technology, including digital X-rays and heated towel racks in every exam room.

What types of care does this new facility allow you to provide that you couldn’t before?

We now have rooms for Chinese medicine and acupuncture and have been able to build out more of the advanced technology so that communication between our staff and our clients is more streamlined. Everything is now customizable; care for your pets is tailored to their specific needs.

Please tell me about your laser and acupuncture procedures.

Our laser and acupuncture procedures are designed to treat inflammation, ear infections, back problems and skin issues such as allergies. Consistent laser and acupuncture treatments are extremely effective for chronic pain and inflammation; they also can be effective to different degrees for other varied conditions. We recommend roughly six sessions to see optimal results. In the spring, we treat a lot of dogs and cats with seasonal allergies, among other health issues.

Tell me about your nutrition and behavioral programs for dogs.

We’re fortunate to be the only private clinic in Boston to have a behavioral resident, Dr. Lindsay Gallagher, as part of our staff. During the pandemic, we started using telemedicine appointments for many of our clients with nutritional needs. Whether it’s obesity, at-home diets or discussing what you should or should not be feeding your pet, these programs are extremely convenient and important to your pet’s health. Once we’re allowed to gather together again, we’re looking forward to hosting training classes and happy hour events.

What are the most common health issues for dogs that can easily be avoided?

They’re typically related to nutrition and dental issues. On the nutrition side, we most commonly see upset stomachs from pets being fed inappropriate treats or food. With dental disease, it’s usually due to the lack of attention to dental hygiene, such as brushing teeth daily. As with any health issues, we suggest immediately contacting your licensed veterinarian, instead of turning to the internet for answers or waiting too long to have your pet treated.

What are your recommendations before adopting a dog?

Do your homework and plenty of research. Anyone who is on the fence about adopting a dog is on the fence for a reason. Think about what’s making you hesitant to bring a new dog home. You need to think past the pandemic; this dog will be with you for potentially up to 16 years. Think about your future and what lifestyle you see yourself living in the long run.

What are a few important things we can do for our dogs every day to keep them healthy?

It starts with the essentials, such as access to healthy food, fresh water and daily exercise. These are the most important—and easiest ways— to keep our dogs happy and healthy. We also encourage our clients to regularly brush their dog’s teeth, and keep up with regular veterinary visits.

For canine nutrition, what are the essentials?

Buying pet food can be overwhelming with the amount of options we have today. Make sure you’re buying age-appropriate foods. All foods should be life-stage appropriate—for example, puppy, small-breed adult, large-breed adult, senior—and consult a nutritionist when adding in anything other than typical dog food. When it comes to nutrition for our dogs, be wary of any diet trends—such as raw food— or taking nutritional or medical advice from anyone other than your licensed veterinarians.

Best ways to keep big dogs happy and healthy downtown?

If you live with a larger-breed dog in the city, you’ll want to make sure your dog has the ability to socialize in a safe environment. Let him or her socialize and get plenty of exercise in enclosed spaces like a fenced-in dog park. There are even apps like SniffSpot you can use to find safe places for your dog to run around. Make sure your dog is socializing with other dogs; they benefit from socializing just like we do, and we are all in need of it after this year!

Photography by: Sabiha Cimen