“America’s Pet Advocate”

Dr. Ernie Ward has spent his entire career practicing, writing about, lecturing on and encouraging better care for dogs and cats to earn the title as “America’s Pet Advocate.” Whether he’s discussing the dangers of obesity, how to perform a physical examination, dealing with behavioral issues, answering pet owner’s questions about surgery or how to provide better care for aging pets, Dr. Ward’s unifying theme is:

“Do what is in the pet’s best interest.”

Dr Ernie Ward

“In 1996, after four years of veterinary practice, I took a long, hard look at my life and decided I wanted to seek a higher quality of life for myself, my family and the pets I served. I was dissatisfied with the status quo and tradition of simply identifying and treating disease and began to focus on preventing disease and optimizing health. No longer would I accept ‘wellness’ as the ‘absence of illness.’ This journey has led me to become a student of human and veterinary physiology, nutrition, wellness and longevity. I am a believer in the ‘be it, do it, share it’ philosophy. My desire is to reach out and help others because the relationships with ourselves, each other and our pet loved ones are the most important reasons for living.” ~ Dr. Ernie Ward

Dr. Ward was instrumental in bringing senior pet care guidelines to general veterinary practices in 1999. In 2001, he developed and published protocols for monitoring pets receiving long term medications such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Previcox, Zubrin, Metacam, Enacard, thyroid hormone, prednisone and more. His chart for drug monitoring guidelines is found in most small animal veterinary hospitals in the US and Canada. Dr. Ward was an early promoter of mandatory pre-surgical blood testing for dogs and cats, the administration of intravenous fluids throughout the procedure and pre- and post-operative pain management, even for routine surgeries such as spay (OHE) and neuter (orchiectomy). Dr. Ward was an advocate for extended vaccination protocols as early as 1999. He was an early adopter of C02 laser surgery, beginning to use surgical lasers in his practice in 1999. He gave over fifty lectures in the US, Canada and Europe on the importance reducing pet vaccinations by using three-year vaccines and wrote and produced a veterinary staff training video and guidebook on immunology and vaccinology in 2004. In 2005, he founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention to help raise awareness on the dangers of excess weight in dogs and cats. He is a certified personal trainer and USA Triathlon certified coach and multiple Ironman finisher.

Career Highlights

    • 1989 Snickers New Music Search – winner – Southeast US Region, “The Violets”
    • 1990 College Music Journal “100 Best Unsigned Bands in US”, “The Violets”
    • 1991 College Music Journal #19 Hit “I Hate the Grateful Dead”
    • Graduated University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine 1992
    • Began his practice at Seaside Animal Care 1993
    • First national veterinary magazine article published 1999
    • First veterinary publications in England and Japan 1999
    • National Practice of Excellence Award 1999
    • Created and published long-term drug monitoring guidelines for dogs and cats 1999
    • National senior pet care guidelines creation team member 2000
    • Appointed to Veterinary Economics editorial advisory board 2000
    • First veterinary staff training textbook and video published 2000
    • Founding Member Vet Partners (formerly AVPMCA – Association of Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors) 2000
    • Long-term drug monitoring national campaign launch 2001
    • LifeLearn’s client education handouts (dog, cat) published 2002
    • Animal Planet King of the Jungle television series 2003-2004
    • Speaker of the Year Award North American Veterinary Conference, Orlando, Florida 2004-05
    • Iams weight loss diet national television commercial 2005
    • Personal trainer certification 2005
    • Founded Association for Pet Obesity Prevention 2005
    • First veterinary article published  in Canada 2005
    • USA Triathlon accredited coach 2007
    • First Ironman triathlon completed 2007
    • First Rachael Ray Show appearance 2007
    • Escape from Alcatraz triathlon 2008
    • First published in Chinese veterinary journal 2009
    • First published in Taiwanese veterinary journal 2010
    • “Chow Hounds” published 2010
    • AVMA WebMD featured Pet Expert 2010
    • Vetstreet Featured Veterinary Expert 2011
    • Profiles in Medicine Award – Veterinary Practice News 2011
    • International Veterinary Senior Care Society – Founder and Board Member 2011
    • Personal Wellness Editor – dvm360 and Veterinary Economics January 2011
    • “Continuing Educator of the Year” Award – Western Veterinary Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada 2012
    • Selected Program Committee Chairperson for Southern European Veterinary Conference 2013-2016
    • Appointed Senior Veterinary Editor for Pet Health Network January 2013
    • Certified Veterinary Food Therapist (CVFT) March 2013
    • CATalysta award by the CATalyst Council as “a champion for cats” and career dedication to bringing awareness to cat issues October 2013
    • Appointed to the Advisory Board for The Grey Muzzle Organization January 2014


    Dr. Ernie has been featured on the Today Show, several shows on Animal Planet, NBC Nightly News, Nightline, Good Morning America, CNN and has appeared numerous times on the Rachael Ray Show since 2007. He has authored and contributed to over 65 veterinary journal articles in the US, England, Canada, Spain, Portugal, France, Hungary, Taiwan, Japan and China and has published three veterinary books, two training videos and a dog obesity and nutrition book Chow Hounds (2010). He has also served as a veterinary expert and contributor for Vetstreet and a  Pet Expert for WebMD.

Dr. Ward has been featured in many magazines including Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Mens’ HealthPrevention, Reader’s Digest, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart Living Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy, The Bark, Fetch!, and newspapers including The New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA Today, Washington PostSan Francisco Chronicle and more. In 2009 he published a series of general veterinary medicine articles in the Beijing Companion Animal Veterinary Journal. He has lectured extensively in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia and was awarded the Speaker of the Year award from the North American Veterinary Conference in 2004. His hospital was awarded the highest honor, the National Practice of Excellence Award, in 1999. He qualified for and completed the inaugural Ford Ironman 70.3 World Championships (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run – PR 5:21) in 2006 and the 2007 Southeast Regional Invitational Triathlon Championships (NC, SC, VA), the 2008 Escape from Alcatraz triathlon and has completed two Ford Ironman events (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run – Personal best 11:45). Dr. Ward shares his home with his wife, two daughters, his beach mutt “Sandy,” a Border terrier “Harry” (he had a lightning bolt on his chest when he was born… according to his daughters), and a feisty feline,  Itty Bitty Kitty. He is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and enjoys any extreme sport (especially those involving endurance feats such as Ironman triathlon and long distance standup paddling (SUP)).